Satellite or Meteor?

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jeff.stevens
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Satellite or Meteor?

Post by jeff.stevens »

Hi, I was out waiting to spot noctilucent cloud last night, and taking some photos in preparation. I took this 25 second exposure at about 11:45pm (BST), with the camera pointing at the Plough asterism. I wasn’t looking at that area of the sky at the time, so I haven’t a clue if this was a meteor or a satellite, so I thought I’d ask for a second opinion. I checked the frame within a few seconds of it displaying, and looked up to see if I could spot a satellite passing that area still, but couldn’t see anything. I’m opting for a meteor, but it does slightly resemble images I used to get of Iridium satellite flares, when they were still occurring.

Best wishes, Jeff.
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Robin Scagell
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Re: Satellite or Meteor?

Post by Robin Scagell »

I'd go for satellite, on grounds of likelihood these days and at this time of year, and also its symmetry. In the recent past I've recorded many of these but been unable to link them to any of the satellites shown on heavens-above.com for the time. However, I think that many satellites, including those normally far too faint to be included on that listing, can flare (just as you can get a 'flare' from an otherwise invisible car's windscreen many miles away when looking at a terrestrial view). I now only accept as meteors those which either have the track of a known shower meteor, or show definite meteor characteristics, such as non-symmetry from one end to the other, red/green ends, and evidence of a train.

As it was recent, you might be able to tie it in with a known satellite pass on heavens-above.

Robin
jeff.stevens
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Re: Satellite or Meteor?

Post by jeff.stevens »

Cheers Robin. Yes, that makes sense. I’ll see if I can tie it back.

Best wishes, Jeff.
stella
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Re: Satellite or Meteor?

Post by stella »

I get a perfect match, with 2019-93K, (44888) a Chinese ChangZeng 4B rocket that launched 2019 December 20.

At 22:43:21.0 U.T. (June 23) coincident with 74 UMa. from Latitude 53.0000 N, Longitude 2.1818W

This is from Stoke City, observer does not specify observing location.
jeff.stevens
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Re: Satellite or Meteor?

Post by jeff.stevens »

Oh that’s fabulous! I’m impressed. Thank you stella.

Yes, I was observing from Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent.

Best wishes, Jeff.
scilover
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Re: Satellite or Meteor?

Post by scilover »

Wow stella! That's incredibly accurate! How did you find out about this? I would like to learn more about this. Thanks!
stella
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Re: Satellite or Meteor?

Post by stella »

In order to identify a satellite, there are a number of things required to be reported accurately.

1. Observer's location -latitude and longitude if possible, but nearest large town or city may be sufficient.

2. Accurate date/time. Date in form of date-month-year. Don't use 'last night' or "On Thursday morning"
or other non-specific terms. Time should be given in U.T. Using "local time" does not help in defining
time zone, or if daylight saving is in operation.

3. Precise celestial location. R.A. and Dec. if possible, or relative to nearby stars, e.g. 1/3 theta to 26 UMa.

When these are available, programs can be run to find which satellites were at the position at the time, as
seen from reported location.
Robin Scagell
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Re: Satellite or Meteor?

Post by Robin Scagell »

Just found this list of suitable programs on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_s ... predictors

Any preferences, Stella?
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