Re: Violet Satellite Appearance

From: Russell Eberst (
Date: Tue Aug 10 2010 - 07:39:40 UTC

  • Next message: Jim Nix: "JN 9633 obs August 10"

    On 10/08/2010 05:33, Chris Zietkiewicz wrote:
    > On Sunday evening I observed a violet appearing satellite.  A portion of the
    > track was captured with a DSLR and can be seen here.
    > I also observed this object through binoculars and verified the violet
    > appearance; this was not a digital camera color mapping error.  Note that
    > the color saturation is stronger in the image than seen by direct
    > observation most likely due to a "VIVID" camera optimization setting.  I
    > have not been able to identify this satellite; perhaps others have seen this
    > colored satellite before and can make a rapid identification.
    > The violet appearing satellite was captured on August 8, 2010 in North
    > Central Colorado near Estes Park (Lat.=N40.27941 Long.=W105.35824
    > Elev.=2073m).  I did not see the initial portion of the track so I cannot
    > provide a maximum elevation and bearing.  I am in the process of matching
    > the star field but do not have any results to share at this time.  What I do
    > know accurately is the starting time for the photographed track.  The
    > shutter opened at 2314.03 +/- 5 seconds local time (MDT = GMT-0600) by a GPS
    > disciplined clock.  The satellite continued out of the frame before the 30
    > sec shutter time elapsed but I expect that it would end at a N or NNE
    > bearing.  The approx. camera direction was 330 degrees (i.e. NNW) with an
    > elevation angle between 20 and 40 degrees.  Captured with a Nikon D70, 35mm
    > 1:2 lens, 30 sec exposure, and long exp NR=OFF (bat low).
    > I could not find any discussion of violet satellites on the site.
    > Can anyone explain the unusual color?  I recall a recent discussion about
    > red satellites so I hope this observation is not too far off topic.  Thank
    > you in advance for any thoughts anyone has to share.
    Hi Chris,
      The image field is in Hercules. Obvious triangle (left centre) is Rho, 
    Pi, and 69 Herculis. Vega at
    top of picture. A point on track is about R.A. = 16hr, 48 mins, Dec = 
    +46.8 (1950.0).
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