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What is it?

Started by eyork, 03/31/2004 11:04PM
Posted 03/31/2004 11:04PM Opening Post
I'm looking in my EP (14 UWA) at an open cluster (M48 to be exact) and something that looks like a star - close to pin point, seemed in focus - moves across my FOV in about 2 seconds The color was yellow/orange. It was about 10:00 PM. I've seen this a few times in different parts of the sky and different times. I even followed it once with my scope.

What was it? Satellite? Asteroid? Little Green Men?

Ed York
Posted 04/01/2004 12:16AM #1
Most likely a satellite.

With a few careful details (date, time, location), you can even find out which satellite you saw. One of my last (clear) nights, an astro-buddy and I manually tracked an old rocket body with a 20" dob for over 15 minutes. The object was spinning and flashed like a tiny strobelight about once a second. Software estimated distance around 35,000 km away from us at the time.

There are thousands of man-made satellites surrounding Earth in a variety of orbits. When the angles (observer-Sun-sat) are favorable, you can see small objects -within limits- very far away. Finding/tracking them is another enjoyable aspect of this astronomical hobby.