View Full Version : Satellites passing through the field of view?

2010-Oct-15, 08:56 PM
Last night I was looking at M31 and later Jupiter. In both cases I saw what I believe were satellites passing through field of view; small points moving very quickly. I was curious if others had experienced the same, and was it odd to see two on one night? In both cases I was using a 32mm, 2-inch eyepiece on a 1200mm focal length Newtonian with a 10-inch objective.

I wondered if they could be birds but there was no observable shape; just points. And no running lights.

2010-Oct-15, 09:22 PM
You might want to check heavens-above.com (http://www.heavens-above.com/) for your location, to see if there were any satellite passes at that time. You can have pairs of satellites, I believe some of the military satellites "fly" like that.

Birds can fly at night, particularly during the migrations, but unless the moon was out and close to full, I wouldn't think they'd reflect much light. They'd have to be flying pretty high up (which is possible) for them to be points.

2010-Oct-16, 02:49 AM
Thanks Swift I often forget that Heavens lists fainter satellites. And I think I have a candidate (http://www.heavens-above.com/PassDetails.asp?Size=600&SatID=24298&Session=kebgfeffaacfccgjbahpnaba&Date=40466.0377962417)for the object that I saw passing near M31. Right time, right path.

2010-Oct-16, 03:40 AM
I see satellites all the time. In fact I see at least one about half the time I'm out. My record is 8 nights in a row seeing one. I use a 10" scope. One Perseid Shower I saw 47 Perseids and 55 satellites mostly naked eye, some with 10x50 binoculars. This was before internet so none were predicted. I see dozens in my images. My field of view is 0.2 degrees yet nearly every 10 minute exposure will have at least one piece of space junk go through it, often dozens. Most of the time I either use noise removal algorithms when possible and clone out the rest. It's a zoo up there.


2010-Oct-16, 05:29 AM
I'm amazed at the number of times a satellite or meteor passes across my feild of view in the telescope, considering what a tiny % of the sky I'm looking at.

2010-Oct-16, 09:44 PM
It's a zoo up there.
OK, that tells me I'm not outside enough with the scope.... :)

Kaptain K
2010-Oct-17, 05:56 PM
I don't know which is more amazing, how many satelites we see or how many UFOs we don't! :eek: :whistle:

2010-Oct-18, 01:25 AM
I don't know which is more amazing, how many satelites we see or how many UFOs we don't! :eek: :whistle:

Indeed! I remember once our club was set up about a mile from where some church group, nearly 1000 of them, had a camp out around a lake south of our dark site. Next day there was a near full page spread in the paper about the amazing UFO they saw with "rotating" lights. It was "huge", super fast going from horizon to horizon then circled north of them. That meant it was right over our heads. Yeah we saw it all right. It was a Piper Cub with advertising lights on the underside of the wings ala the Goodyear Blimp. It was flashing an odd random pattern to get your attention then would scroll some message I can't recall. It was targeting these campsites around the lake. We contacted the paper with the explanation and name of the advertising company involved and the name of the pilot who turned out to be a friend my my father. Paper wasn't interested. It was certified by MUFON as a real UFO and no ad agency was going to claim the publicity for a client. Nor could it fool nearly 1000 well boozed campers. Of course we were cussing it out for ruining our night vision! About a week later back on page umpteen the paper had a one paragraph filler saying there were reports of an advertising plane in the area but never connected it to the UFO headlines.

Years later about this time of the year up here in northern Minnesota rather than down in Nebraska where the above happened we had a very odd inversion later. Being a ham I first realized it was there when it ducted in distant 2 meter repeaters. Wondering if it was visual too I went out to look and saw it was. Stars well below the horizon were seen about 5 degrees above it. One was Aldebaran. It, as well as the other stars of the head of the bull were bouncing around and highly distorted. Aldebaran being far brighter was the only one you saw unless you were looking for the others. It was changing shape like an amoeba and would flare. Often turning green. It was fun to watch. As time past it finally rose above the inversion and was replaced by other stars though by the time Orion would be in it the inversion had passed. I thought no more of it.

Next day the radio was all over a story of a Wadena county (one south of me) deputy that was "forced" off the road by a green ray emitted by a UFO. He wiped out a row of mail boxes and totaled the cruiser. Later he appeared on several UFO TV shows and others like Unexplained Mysteries. I drove down to where it happened and yep, the time and directions exactly matched Aldebaran as the alien craft. I suspect he fell asleep at the wheel, saw one of the green flashes similar to the ones I saw as he awoke, over reacted and wiped out the mailboxes and cruiser.

Those are the only reported UFO's I've seen, easily explained but as with the Nebraska case, "Inversion layer? Red stars turning green? You some nut case? Our deputy is a trained observer and knows what he saw and he saw an alien craft, the wrecked cruiser proves it." Or something like that.

I'm still awaiting my first real alien craft. Been waiting nearly 60 years so not holding my breath.


2010-Oct-19, 06:01 PM
I think this pertains.....I had a pair of 3 meter microwave dishes set up for interference studies of the Sun using 4 GHz TVRO gear. I kept getting short duration and strong signals randomly, about 1 sometimes 3 a day. One day I was in the radio room when a spike started shooting up from baseline, ran outside to find a small plane was passing right through the beam of the the dishes. I asked the local hams about it. turns out planes use 4 GHz on their altimiters. "if you build it, they will come!"