Request for help in identiying satellite

From: Thomas Teague (tommyteague@btinternet.com)
Date: Tue May 02 2006 - 11:10:16 EDT

  • Next message: George Roberts: "Re: Request for help in identiying satellite"

    Greetings,
    
    Last night I saw what I am sure was an artificial satellite in transit 
    across the lunar disc.  Can anyone help me identify it?  The details are 
    as follows.
    
    Location of observing site:    N53d 11m 03s, W02d 51m 46s.
    
    Instrument used:    50mm refractor x25.
    
    Time (UTC):    20h 42m 30s (+/- 10 seconds).
    
    Sky conditions:    Twilight.  Mainly clear with some cloud nearby.
    
    Duration of transit:    Approximately 3 or 4 seconds, during which the 
    object traversed a chord, not a diameter, so was probably covering a 
    degree every 12 seconds or so.
    
    Direction of motion:    Not noted, I regret to say, but my recollection 
    is that it passed from the illuminated crescent on to and across the 
    Earthlit portion of the Moon (it was visible against both).
    
    Appearance:    Visible only in dark silhouette.  This puzzled me at 
    first, but it occurs to me that it may well have been in the Earth's 
    shadow at the time.
    
    Angular size / shape:    As the appearance was unexpected and lasted 
    only a few seconds, I can't be very precise, but I estimate that the 
    object was about 10 arc seconds across.  Certainly not more than 20" 
    (probably a lot less) and unlikely to have been much less than 5" 
    across.  It appeared noticeably angular in shape, i.e. square or oblong, 
    but owing to its small size it is difficult to be more precise.  No 
    other distinguishing features.  No sign of tumbling or irregular motion.
    
    Other information:    At the time, I believe the Moon was at RA = 06h 
    10m 28s, Dec = +27d 59m 51s.  That equates to the following horizontal 
    coordinates as seen from my site: Az = 276d 20m, Alt = +31d 04m, but I'm 
    not 100% sure I've got those figures right.
    
    I can't think of any other information I can provide.  Does anyone have 
    any idea what I may have seen?
    
    Best wishes,
    
    Tom Teague 
    
    
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