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View Full Version : Did I Just View An Artificial Satellite?



Mr. Milton Banana
2008-Sep-20, 12:37 AM
I'm in the New York City area, on the northeast coast of the United States. There's quite a bit of light pollution, but I can see stars. New York City is just east of me.

Anyway, I was gazing at the sky, waiting for the ice cream truck to come up my block. I saw a point of light. It was moving across the sky. I took a good long look at it. I seriously doubt it was a plane, because I didn't see the flashing strobe lights that are typical on planes. If it had stood still, it could have been either a star or a planet.

I suspect it was an artificial satellite. I've heard that sometimes, you can see them traveling across the sky. If so, it's the very first one I've seen.

Thoughts, anyone?

(edited to add more important info-I got strawberry ice cream for myself, and a chocolate/vanilla mix for mom. )

Neverfly
2008-Sep-20, 12:49 AM
Ice Cream...http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/38.gifhttp://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/38.gif
http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/105.gif



Sorry:neutral:

Ok, yes, it's absolutely possible to not only observe Satellites, but to look up when they are visible on the web and time it so that you can observe them specifically.
Telescopes are nice on this one- There are quite a few shots (Good Ones!) floating around the web of the ISS.

mlsestak
2008-Sep-20, 03:16 AM
If you remember the time and direction you were looking, you can go to www.heavens-above.com, put in your location and check whether there was anything going over in that direction at that time. In particular, there are satellites called Iridium that produce such bright reflections from their solar panels that they can be seen in heavily light poluted areas and even during daylight if you know where to look. And once again, that's where heavens-above comes in because you can find out when satellites will come over as well as when the did go over. There are several other satellites that can be quite bright, including the International Space Station.

Sam5
2008-Sep-20, 04:56 AM
I'm in the New York City area, on the northeast coast of the United States. There's quite a bit of light pollution, but I can see stars. New York City is just east of me.



Thoughts, anyone?

(edited to add more important info-I got strawberry ice cream for myself, and a chocolate/vanilla mix for mom. )

Let me see if this link works for the viewing opportunities for the International Space Station on the night of the 20th and several nights afterward, at the location of New York City:

http://www.heavens-above.com/PassSummary.aspx?satid=25544&lat=40.714&lng=-74.006&loc=New+York&alt=2&tz=EST

Sam5
2008-Sep-20, 05:03 AM
Here's a live map of the current position of the ISS.

http://heavens-above.com/

Looks like it just went over New York a couple of hours ago.

Was the object you saw bright?

Edit: not a couple of hours but less time than that.

astromark
2008-Sep-20, 05:51 AM
A cranial mater impulse has led you to be waiting for the ice cream truck... Stop eating ice cream. I have just learned what is in ice cream, and may never eat it again. I would strongly advise you to purchase fresh fruit instead.
Looking skyward is also not good for you. Stop it. Your neck is not designed to do that and you might harm yourself... A sense of wonder could consume you and a need to know attitude will get you into all sorts of bother... AS I HOPE YOU HAVE SENSED, I am being foolish. and do not intend as advise the above.
Yes you saw a satellite. Go to 'heavens-above' and play...

mugaliens
2008-Sep-20, 09:19 AM
No, it was just your ice cream truck, reflected off the severe (reflective) inversion layer created upwind of any major city experiencing light pollution.

:liar:

geonuc
2008-Sep-20, 09:27 AM
If you remember the time and direction you were looking, you can go to www.heavens-above.com (http://www.heavens-above.com), put in your location and check whether there was anything going over in that direction at that time.
Welcome to BAUT!

Thanks for providing the heavens-above link. :)

Mr. Milton Banana
2008-Sep-20, 04:55 PM
A cranial mater impulse has led you to be waiting for the ice cream truck... Stop eating ice cream. I have just learned what is in ice cream, and may never eat it again. I would strongly advise you to purchase fresh fruit instead.
Looking skyward is also not good for you. Stop it. Your neck is not designed to do that and you might harm yourself... A sense of wonder could consume you and a need to know attitude will get you into all sorts of bother... AS I HOPE YOU HAVE SENSED, I am being foolish. and do not intend as advise the above.
Yes you saw a satellite. Go to 'heavens-above' and play...

Heh. Actually, blame my elderly mom-she's the one who usually wants the ice cream. I just figured I'd indulge that evening as well. I had a strawberry ice-cream fetish last night for some reason.

Jeff Root
2008-Sep-20, 06:05 PM
Mark,

I read the ingredients on a carton of ice cream (after I had emptied it-- I'm
not going to leave good ice cream out of the freezer one second longer than
necessary) last week, and I am not deterred in the slightest from consuming
it again in mass quantities. I bought ice cream three times this summer (to
bring home, I mean, several additional times it was consumed elsewhere),
which is more than average for me for a whole year. I haven't brought ice
cream home much in the past, but that is going to change!

Eat ice cream while reclining in a lawn chair, looking up at the stars and
counting the passing satellites.

Back in the 1960's I was looking at the stars through binoculars when I saw
a satellite enter the field. I followed it a ways, when another entered the
field, going a different direction. I followed that one for a little ways when
a third satellite entered the field, and followed it until I saw a fourth satellite!
All in the space of about three minutes. There were more satellites in low
Earth orbit then, since higher orbits had not yet come into use, and satellites
in low orbits re-enter the atmosphere within a few years at most. Higher
satellites can stay up practically forever, but they need to be much larger
in order to appear as bright, and they move across the sky more slowly.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

astromark
2008-Sep-21, 10:53 AM
Yes I will withdraw and retract my 'Do not eat ice cream warning' Leaning back on a swimming pool recliner while eating a chocolate sundae ice cream and looking around the star groups with binoculars and catching a few satellites moving through the field of view... yep !
Being in New Zealand where one of our primary exports is dairy products I was reading of illness and deaths attributed to a mixed compounds in milk powder in China... I shall go outside and spot the moving objects of interest.