RE: Newcomer with odd sighting

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Thu Mar 18 2004 - 13:13:18 EST

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    Nige Hartley wrote:
    > I'm Nige Hartley and new to satellite sighting reporting.  
    > I've always had an amateur interest in the night sky and 
    > always feel a buzz when spotting a satellite so what made me 
    > sign up to this forum?
    Welcome to SeeSat-L!
    > On 17 March 2004, at approximately 2205 UTC, I saw what 
    > appeared to be 3 satellites in close formation, ie. all 
    > within the span of my outstreched hand and following the same 
    > track.  My position was approximately 57.6N 003.6W (Forres, 
    > in Scotland) and the "formation" passed roughly west to east, 
    > crossing virtually overhead to just "below" Ursa Major.  They 
    > passed into darkness shortly afterwards.
    You and your family observed a triad of satellites known as NOSS 2-1. 
    NOSS is short for Naval Ocean Surveillance System, which are formations of two
    or three satellites in close proximity to one another. It is believed that NOSS
    satellites use radio interferometry (or a similar technique) to detect, locate
    and track ships at sea by their radio transmissions. 
    Normally these satellites are relatively dim to the unaided eye, but on occasion
    they brighten sufficiently to be easily seen in a dark sky. 
    You can learn more about the NOSS here:
    I have configured Heavens-Above to plot the pass that you observed:
    The URL may be chopped by the e-mail system, in which case you will have to
    re-assemble it an paste it into your web browser.
    Ted Molczan
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