Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

A Plane, Or Satellite...I Think?

Wed Oct 03, 2001 10:18 pm

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?
 
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RE: A Plane, Or Satellite...I Think?

Wed Oct 03, 2001 10:26 pm

I saw exactly the same thing in Mexico once, figured it was a satelite.
Of course, it could have been the Aurora! Big grin
 
airsicknessbag
Posts: 4626
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2000 2:45 am

RE: A Plane, Or Satellite...I Think?

Wed Oct 03, 2001 10:39 pm

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
 
Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

RE: A Plane, Or Satellite...I Think?

Wed Oct 03, 2001 10:44 pm

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
 
airsicknessbag
Posts: 4626
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2000 2:45 am

RE: A Plane, Or Satellite...I Think?

Wed Oct 03, 2001 10:55 pm

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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