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Walking on the Moon

A mystery moving object


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Hi all.

Last night I set out to capture an occultation of a bright (mag 7.9) star in Cetus by asteroid (8071) Simonelli. I was under the predicted shadow path but the asteroid is only 8km across and I recorded a miss, which was disappointing. Even at 2x integration with my Watec camera, the star was so bright that it was heavily saturated.

Whilst I was preparing for the event, I captured an object moving very slowly eastwards across the field at a rate of about 7.5 arc-minutes a minute at a position angle of about 45 degrees.


You can see it in the real-time video below, moving from right to left. The target star for the occultation is the bright one lower centre. The field of view is about 22 arc-minutes across.

I assume that this is simply a satellite, but I’ve seen countless satellites drift across the FOV, but never seen one as slow as this one. Even with geostationary ones, and this one can’t be a geostationary as it was at the wrong declination and moving at the wrong angle. In any case, a geostationary satellite, orbiting as they do at about 35,786 km, would take about a minute to cross this star field. Other low-orbit ones would whizz through in a couple of seconds. This one took about 3 minutes. Any ideas about what this might be?


 

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Update.

I'm told by others more learned that me that this could possibly be satellite 2013-024B, a rocket body launched by the US on May 25th 2013, or similar, which swings between 665 and 66,000km from the earth. At that distance it would clearly move much slower than closer objects.

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