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iPeace

What are the odds?

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I've gotten used to satellites zipping through the view. I enjoy them. Sometimes I even see two at once, travelling at slightly different speeds and on widely differing trajectories. It has ceased to amaze or surprise me, even though I can't stop marvelling at them.

But last night, whilst observing Jupiter, something made me go Wow again... this was no ordinary, fast-moving-non-blinking-point-of-light satellite. This thing was huge. It had wings. It just had to be the ISS.

There's no way I know of to verify this, but has this ever happened to you, just by chance? Or could it have been something else you know of?

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Cool! I've never had a chance to see the ISS, but I saw a few planes flying in front the Sun while observing and that was a Wow too!

Edited by Piero
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I've seen the ISS fly over many times but it's not passed through the field of view in a scope as yet. Other satellites, surprisingly often !

The oddest man-made thing I've observed in space was the tool bag that a space walking astronaut let go by accident in 2008. It tracked the ISS for a few orbits and could be seen with binoculars as a faint (mag 8 I seem to recall) point of light just behind the ISS. Probably the smallest object I've observed in space apart from meteors.

 

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37 minutes ago, iPeace said:

I've gotten used to satellites zipping through the view. I enjoy them. Sometimes I even see two at once, travelling at slightly different speeds and on widely differing trajectories. It has ceased to amaze or surprise me, even though I can't stop marvelling at them.

But last night, whilst observing Jupiter, something made me go Wow again... this was no ordinary, fast-moving-non-blinking-point-of-light satellite. This thing was huge. It had wings. It just had to be the ISS.

There's no way I know of to verify this, but has this ever happened to you, just by chance? Or could it have been something else you know of?

You can check whether ISS was visible for you on the website www.heavens-above.com.

I've tracking the ISS using the scope a few times, amazing what detail you can see. It's normally planes flying through the fov which make me jump!!

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8 minutes ago, Stu said:

You can check whether ISS was visible for you on the website www.heavens-above.com.

I've tracking the ISS using the scope a few times, amazing what detail you can see. It's normally planes flying through the fov which make me jump!!

Ah. Well, from what I can tell from that site, it looks like it had to have been something else. It was moving just as fast as any other satellite I've seen, but was so much larger! I was looking at Jupiter, facing South-East, and it zipped through the view from left to right, meaning of course it was travelling right to left, so roughly South-West to North-East, I suppose. Too fast for me to track. Perhaps I'll never know, but it was pretty cool!

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As far as I understand it the ISS orbit for us is very near its peak, so it's orbit can never be more than rising E and setting W.  Doesn't stellarium have it mapped?

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It could have been this. I set the location in Northern Holland, not sure how accurate it needs to be. The shown fov around jupiter is 1°, so if it's accurate and you were looking at this time it would have flashed past. :) It was travelling NE to SW 

image.png

Edited by Scooot

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I dont know why, but i still get a thrill every time i see a satellite passing over.....(be it with bins,a scope or naked eye). Ive seen the ISS quite a few times (twice in one night on one occassion). First time i saw it was with my 10x50 bins. It was very easy to track just hand-held. Looked like a bullet with a rectangular wing on both sides.

Check www.heavens-above.com for the timetable of Iridium flares. They are pretty cool to see.

 

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This has happen to me twice which is no supprise as I normally get more clear sky, kiss of death for the next week or so.

Last time I was looking a Vega whilst doing an eyepiece test with the 18 inch, it really made me jump as I had a fair amount of power on, well over X100. I could see everything in the split second that it crossed the field of view, another reason to use Ethos.

I have also had dozens of aircraft pass through the FOV though as I seem to have about 6 in the sky here at any one time I guess that is understandable. Doing a test on eyepieces I once counted how many light trails of everything that passed through the FOV to sort of spare a thought for our AP members, 92 was the score over the test period if I recall correctly.

Alan 

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It must have been very impressive to see the ISS at 100x with your 18"! I will have a look at the website provided by Stu. Should be fun! 

92 objects is a huge number! Thankfully, we don't live (yet) in the Era of Star Wars otherwise we would see a proper "sky traffic congestion" instead of stars! 

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Vega? - it was probably the aliens from "Contact". If you manged to download the instructions in the off-carrier polarisation modulation, it's a Maplin parts list for a machine which will whisk you away to meet Carl Sagan, Jodie Foster, or a Bill Clinton look-alike. If the parts are in stock that is. On the other hand, up to a few weeks ago you couldn't look anywhere without seeing Tim Peake...

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Rather than rely on an online website, you can always download a good satellite-tracking software-program. My favorite is Previsat - available through SourceForge - same outfit that handles Stellarium and many, many others. Previsat is totally free. Just update the telemetry every day or three. It can be set to show you passes of the ISS from your location. Here you go:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/previsat/

It will show you more satellites up there than anyone imagined. It's a traffic-jam up there! I'm currently tracking the one North Korea sent up in February. Waiting for it to crash & burn. :D

Have fun -

Dave

Edited by Dave In Vermont

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