Re: Satellites crossing Sun and Moon

From: Russell (
Date: Thu Jun 07 2001 - 10:45:34 PDT

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    At 11:25 07/06/01 -0400, Bruno wrote:
    >A somewhat similar situation occurs for transits in front of the
    >Sun. The only verifiable observation I am aware of is the video
    >of ISS taken by Ron Dantowitz last December in Canada during the
    >partial solar eclipse. Quite a feat!
    About a decade ago, I verified an observation of an object crossing the Sun.
    The observer was H.J.P. Arnold, the noted astrophotographer. He was
    observing the Sun telescopically using an H-alpha filter. He suddenly 
    spotted a dark dot crossing the disc in less than a second, moving in
    a polar orbit. He had the presence of mind to note the time, accurate
    to a few seconds. Later he contacted me to see if it could be identified.
     I was somewhat dubious, believing that the explanation would be bird,
    balloon, or one of the myriad of other objects that cross our skies.
    It was a surprise when I determined that indeed a satellite (#17295 =
    1987-03A = Cosmos 1812) had indeed passed close to the Sun in the sky
    at the reported time. However calculations indicated a near-miss rather
    than the observed transit. In was not until the precise latitude and
    longitude of the observer was used, and not the approximate co-ordinates
    which had originally been supplied, that revised calculation confirmed
    that a transit had actually occurred.
     Many transits of satellites across the Moon have been seen. My earliest
    such report was of one of the pieces of Sputnik 4 (1960 Epsilon) back in
    the early Sixties. My most recent was on 2001 March 5 at 19:45:08.77 U.T.
    when a Globalstar rocket (#25855 = 1999-37E) was seen to transit the Moon.
    The observation was reported at the end of my seesat message MAR5.OBS.
    Best wishes,  Russell Eberst
    Station 2420:  Latitude 55.9486N, Longitude 3.1383W, height 150ft = 46m.
    Total Observations: 183919
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