Saturday night Srini and I were checking out Mars and Saturn. They were very close in the sky – but unfortunately not close enough to take a picture (the NexImage field of view is quite small, about the same as a 5mm eyepiece).
I decided to sketch what I saw instead, and look up the moon positions and star names later. I looked back and forth between my sketch and the eyepiece several times and suddenly saw something whiz by Saturn. I turned to my laptop, which was running Starry Night at the time, and wound it back to confirm what I thought – yep, it was a satellite.
If I’m reading the Heavens Above database correctly, it is the rocket body of Cosmos 1484, a Soviet satellite used for “Gathering regular information on the natural resources of the earth for use in various branches of the Soviet economy, and conducting further tests on new types of measuring apparatus and methods of remote sensing of the earth’s surface and atmosphere”.
It didn’t really look like anything since it went by so fast, but it is pretty damn cool that I was looking through the eyepiece right at the split-second it passed by (especially since I wasn’t expecting it).