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Astronomers see the strangest things.


spaceboy
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Hi Everyone

Looking at the heavens (when I get chance) I have seen some very strange things. From single point bright flashes, fireballs running in tandem across the sky to numerous satellites and one huge space station but all of the things I have seen I could put down to either meteorites or man made creations. What I saw last night I can only assume to be space junk from an rocket booster or old rocket. I came across it purely by accident trying to find M15. All I can say was it was a long tube. I was able to follow it for some time at x111 and it definitely was not a plane. I couldn't make out any tail or wings, no cabin lights or strobes. I would have said it was a similar magnitude to a faint and fussy so it wasn't lit up like a satellite although it was moving at a steady pace in a straight line across the sky so I don't think we have any worries of it being ET. Is it possible it could be a large piece of space junk in the from an old rocket ? You see these rockets going up all the time but I'm only aware of NASA's SRB's dropping to earth to be used again. A lot of these satellites are sent up on the end of unmanned booster rockets could this be what I saw?? Never really given it a thought before what happens to all these rockets going in to space. I doubt they let them fall back to earth with the risks involved and I doubt they use enough fuel to take it beyond earth orbit? Got to laugh, LP, air pollution, planes, satellites and now space junk to have to look through. 150 years from now and I bet people will have to rely on Hubble to know what deep space looks like.

SPACEBOY

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There are a couple of rocket bodies floating around up there, my Heavens Above app tells me when any of them above a certain brightness magnitude is going past.

*edit: just had a look now, apparantly at 23:39 there will be an old Titan 4b rocket body going almost directly overhead with a magnitude of 1.3 I think.

Alan

Edited by inksmithy
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Thanks Alan. I did suspect it to be junk. Didn't know that the average Joe could track them though, thanks for the heads up. Not really all that exciting to see but to be able to say I've seen an old space ship in the sky might make for conversation sometime.

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If you have a smartphone have a look for the tracking apps. Android has Heavens Above, not sure about the other platforms.

It's surprising how often something whizzes past the eyepiece, the other night I was tracking something for a good while as well. Amazing when you think about the numbers, physics and effort involved.

Alan

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Is there a way for me to find out what it may have been last night ? Is this the correct site Heavens-Above Home Page as I can't see any mention of space junk. I can't be 100% sure of the time but it would have been around 01:30-01:50 this morning coming from Pegasus and traveled in a parallel line along the arm of Aquarius around 29 degrees or so.

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I could imagine seeing that through a scope. Just looking up at the sky, I've seen space junk (possibly a meteorite:)) light up the sky and break apart in the atmosphere. It was a huge ball of flame that lasted only a few seconds. Awesome stuff, you would be surprised how much space junk is floating around up there.

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A long tube? that means it was either HUGE (the ISS is about 100m in the biggest direction) or big and low...

Thats something I hadn't thought about. It was real big! I have seen the ISS at a similar magnification (looked like a tie fighter) and it was probably 2-3/5th the size of the tube I saw. I doubt it would have been as far away as the ISS as I'm sure they have that parked well away from huge pieces of junk. SO big and low it is :)

Edited by spaceboy
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I could imagine seeing that through a scope. Just looking up at the sky, I've seen space junk (possibly a meteorite:)) light up the sky and break apart in the atmosphere. It was a huge ball of flame that lasted only a few seconds. Awesome stuff, you would be surprised how much space junk is floating around up there.

We need to petition NASA to do a 'Orbital Tidy Up' night, when they shove all waste rocket bodies into the atmosphere to burn up. That would make for the most incredible 'meteor' shower ever :)

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I managed to track the Iss for about a minute with a 9mm eyepiece so i could see the solar panel and the central part. was buzzing all evening after that. it is amazing how ofter things fly through the field of view.

Edited by Astrodread
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It was pretty lame really, they drove past where I was set up, headlights off. I ran up to the house ,they jumped back in the car and tore off.

I was just pleased that they kept their headlights off in both directions otherwise they would have ruinied two exposures which is no small consideration at the end of June.

I haven't said a word to my wife as she would go completely mental. I do feel quietly smug about the fact that my somewhat pricey equipment probably saved us a fortune.

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It was pretty lame really, they drove past where I was set up, headlights off. I ran up to the house ,they jumped back in the car and tore off.

I was just pleased that they kept their headlights off in both directions otherwise they would have ruinied two exposures which is no small consideration at the end of June.

I haven't said a word to my wife as she would go completely mental. I do feel quietly smug about the fact that my somewhat pricey equipment probably saved us a fortune.

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That was lucky. Just goes to show that lurking in the dark serves a useful purpose.

Makes me think about a night a few years ago when I was in the garden observing when I heard the smash of glass next door. I peered cautiously over the fence and saw a man with brick in hand trying to get in through a broken back door. "Oi! What do you think you're doing!", I bravely shouted... Turned out it was my neighbour who had been to the pub and lost his key.

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Seen something similar in 1988, 0310 on a November night, watched a large cylindrical object tumble (around 2 axis) across the sky about 25 degrees above the horizon. The fact that I could see structure and shape through light pollution via 7x50 bins at such a low elevation meant it must have been huge and or at very low altitude.

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  • 7 months later...

Yet again I get to see some weird **** last night. Looking up at the sky I notice 3 dim lights sources travelling over from Mars direction past the plough and off towards the north west. Forgot to note the time but would have been around 21:00 at a guess. I had at first thought it might have been space junk again as it was within our orbit and reasonably dull. Travelling far faster than any satellite and the centre light seemed to move between the other two a couple of times before running parallel once again. I have seen some thing similar when we had a meteor shower with the way the middle star was bouncing between the other two but the brightness remained constant and there were no visible trails. As I have said before I know there would be a perfect explanation for what it is I saw but I'd love to know what half the stuff is I see when looking at the heavens. I know there are satellites every where and that there is space junk, weather balloons and the like but there still are some weird stuff flying over our heads that would be interesting to know what they are as for one I was in the right place looking at the right patch of sky at the right time but I don't have a clue what it was so it will more than likely fade from memory as another one of those dim lights flying through the night sky.

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Your a star Acey thanks. I'm almost certain the one in the middle was going between the other two at one point but it was similar to a triangle formation. I guess depending on where you view it from will look more or less triangular and for the same reason I may well have perceived movement as it traversed the sky.

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