Satellite crossing moon?

Bill Kahn (
Fri, 25 Jul 1997 12:44:46 +0000

I believe I saw a satellite crossing the face of the nearly full moon.

Is this common? possible? ridiculous?


Observing nearly full moon on evening of July 17, 1997.
Lat: N39.692  Lon: W75.567 (30 miles west of Philadelphia)
Using 12.5" f4.84 Newtonian with 32mm Plossel eyepiece for 48x and 1*fov
Time 10:32:50 EDT  (WWV checked watch)
Observed: A black resolvable round circle, estimated at 10" diameter crossed
from left           to right in the scope taking about 1 second to traverse
the approximately 20'           of illuminated disk, approximately 5' below
lunar equator.  I saw nothing with           the naked eye when I looked
away from the eyepiece, but, of course, my right            eye (oberving
eye) was not dark adapted (moon is bright in a 12") at all, and
left eye was able to read lunar map in the moonlight--able to see mag 2.
Additional:  As it is an inverting scope, actual pass was from right to
left, i.e. west              to east, 5' North of the lunar equator.  Seeing
was about 3" quality,                   Epsilon-Lyra double-double was just
resolvable.  So resolution of circular              shape in under 1 second
of observing, while seemingly clear at the time,              may be a bit
questionable.  I have seen birds fly across the moon face
several times before--they have always been clearly identifiable as birds.
I suppose this maybe could have been a very high flying bird, but it didn't
seem like it.  I have had eyespots float through 

If this was a satellite, do folks do this lunar silhouette satellite
observing often?

Which satellite was it?



Bill Kahn				(212) 372-9156 voice
Mitchell Madison Group			(212) 372-9001 fax
520 Madison Avenue	
New York, NY  10022