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A Plane, Or Satellite...I Think?  
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Posted (12 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1098 times:

Last night, at 7:40 PM PST, I went out to my front yard to have a cigarette. I looked up in the sky, and saw something that caught my attention. It was a single point of white light. It did not resemble a plane as there were no other (visible) lights. It was headed in a south-southeast to north-northwest trajectory. I spotted it at about -10 degrees below zenith (zenith being the point directly overhead), or about 80 degrees above the horizon, while facing east. When I first spotted it, I estimated the apparent magnitude, in astonomical terms to be about -1.5, or the brightness of Jupiter. In approximately 5-7 seconds, it faded to below visibility after covering about 20 degrees of arc.

So my question to all of you is: What was it? It was almost certainly not an aircraft. I thought about it possibly being a meteor, but it travelled too slowly.

Could it have been a reflection from a satellite in orbit?

4 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLeftseat86 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1081 times:

I saw exactly the same thing in Mexico once, figured it was a satelite.
Of course, it could have been the Aurora! Big grin


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (12 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1076 times:

The only thing THAT bright that passed over Ontario, CA yesterday between 1930 and 1950 was the ISS with a magnitude of -0.7. It was visible from 19:38,36 through 19:42,51. It travelled however SW to ENE.

Other, but much less bright, satellite passes yesterday between 1930 and 1950:

Cosmos 1077 Rocket (mag 3.1) - 19:30,17 - 19:36,39
Cosmos 1544 Rocket (mag 4.4) - 19:33,01 - 19:41,55
UARS (mag. 3.0) - 19:36,51 - 19:55,15
Meteor 1-4 Rocket (mag. 3.6) - 19:42,12 - 19:49,23
Cosmos 1953 (mag. 4.2) - 19:48,23 - 19:53,59

Hope this helps a little,

Daniel Smile


User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 3, posted (12 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1069 times:

Thanks "bag".

That helps. Well judging from my description and your info, I'd have to go with the ISS. Remember, my headings and magnitude were just spur of the moment guesses. But your info comes fairly close.

Thanks for the help.  Smile


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 4, posted (12 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1061 times:

you´re welcome.
By the way, ISS will be visible for you today from 20:16,30 through 20:19,32, going from W to NNW. Magnitude 1.4 "only", though.
Daniel Smile


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