Satellite Sighting

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).

If you have Starry Night, you can download this file to see what I saw. If you’re into astronomy and don’t have Starry Night, get it!

2 Responses to “Satellite Sighting”

  1. john 118 says:

    i had a kind of wierd sighting when is saw what i could say can only be a
    plane or a ufo i was night time and suddenly i noticed some lights moving slowly across the sky the later on little flashes that looked like explosions it was wierd nobody belieived me but i no what i saw

  2. Anonymous says:

    What I thought was the ISS passing over turned out to be something different. It was brighter (mag -4)and reddish in colour. it also flashed abd flickered as it entered earths shadow. I checked on heavens above for ISS pass times and found that it was on the opposite side of the planet at the time. I saw this object around 2255 on the 26/07/08 and I live near Liverpool UK. My guess? space junk about to re-enter?