An Unusual Satellite Observation

From: Skywayinc@aol.com
Date: Sat Mar 14 2009 - 04:41:52 UTC

  • Next message: Derek C Breit: "RE: An Unusual Satellite Observation"

    I wanted to pass along an unusual observation  made by John Bortle, the 
    well-known
    comet observer who has been an assiduous  observer of the sky for over 
    50-years.  
    John E-mailed me late tonight  (Friday, March 13) after observing this 
    "double satellite"
    from his home in  Stormville (Dutchess County), NY.  Has anyone an idea as to 
    what 
    John  might have seen?
    
    -- joe  rao
    
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Saw  something a bit on the peculiar side while out observing this evening. 
    Right  around 8:30 PM, as I went from the eyepiece to the desk to consult a 
    chart,  something caught my eye up in the north.
    
    Right where the Big Dipper's  handle meets the bowl was a brilliant star of 
    about -2 magnitude with a  companion of about magnitude +2 just a degree or two 
    below it. To the unaided  eye they appeared essentially stationary and only 
    on looking through my 10x50's  was I able to detect a very slow motion toward 
    the north-northeast. Both slowly  faded as they crept along, although the 
    companion did slowly brighten back up  for a brief time and exceeded the primary in 
    brightness but by that time they  were both binocular objects. After 
    traveling perhaps ten degrees the fade  out.
    
    Heavens About didn't seem to indicate anything, at least that I  could find, 
    for that time period when I checked. Awfully slow motion but  unusually bright 
    (like the ISS). 
    
    -- John
    
    
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