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My friend and I were outside last night looking at the sky and looking for satellites. We saw a few of what I assume were satellites (flat unblinking steadily moving lights) One of them which crossed the sky East to West emitted 2 incredibly bright and intense, very large flashes of pure white light, spaced maybe 2 minutes apart from each other. Neither of us have any more than a basic school knowledge of astronomy but are both interested. We wondered if anyone on here could help shed any light on the flashing satellite we saw?
Many thanks for your time.
It's difficult to get a sense of scale in this astronomy game; but we try. So here are 8 pics of the ISS passing between Vega and Epsilon Lyra last night - which is a second's worth of my Canon 7D firing off as fast as it can. The background is a single 30 second tracked exposure for a bit of context. Details: Esprit 100 prime focus/Canon 7D:1/1000s ISO1600 +30s background. The trick if you want to try this is to use planetarium software to find out exactly when the ISS will be near a bright object, then pre-align and focus on or near that object, then wait for the ISS to appear in the finder before letting the shutter go in rapid mode. I also optimised pre-focus on the computer using the focus feature on Nebulosity before switching the camera back to stand alone mode.
I have written a blog post about imaging artificial satellites, with a focus on the ISS. Since the SGL challenge is precisely about that, it thought it could be interesting to share.
The article is there:
It has a bit of background in the beginning on satellites and how imaging a satellite is similar to a satellite imaging the ground, plus some discussion about the different types of mount and tracking and of what limits imaging performance. The conclusion is that a dob + a high-speed, high resolution camera is a good way to go to make images like these:
There are some very nice images from other people in there too.
By Putaendo Patrick
History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball (58 cm.or 22.8 inches in diameter), weighed only 83.6 kg. or 183.9 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.
Probably a malicious apocryphal rumor, but I once heard the Russians programmed Sputnik to transmit a radio signal which was used by many automatic door openers. Supposedly gates and garage doors were opening and shutting like crazy all over the USA as the satellite passed overhead. Great sense of humor IF it's true!