Re: Almost fooled by UARS while looking for ISS

From: Greg Williams (
Date: Thu Nov 30 2006 - 00:11:27 EST

  • Next message: Greg Roberts: "Optical 28th Nov 2006"

    Ted Molczan wrote:
    > Marco, it may interest you to know that an observer in Rotterdam had the same
    > experience at the same time, and posted to sci.astro.satellites.visual-observe,
    > seeking the identity of the first satellite, which I provided with the help of
    > Heavens-Above.
    > Ted Molczan
    > -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Subscribe/Unsubscribe info, Frequently Asked Questions, SeeSat-L archive:  
    Greetings all.
    I posted portions of the following to a message board last week and came 
    up empty.  I don't know if it was UARS I saw, but if anyone can provide 
    input on this I would appreciate it.
    I live in Knoxville, TN, and Saturday morning (18 NOV) I was scanning 
    the skies for meteors from the Leonids and saw several more satellites 
    than meteors between 5:30 and 6:20AM (1030 - 1120 UTC).
    One that caught my attention was of course the ISS, right about 6:10 
    (1110 UTC) is when I saw it cruising towards New England and into the 
    orbital sunrise.
    However, just about 30-45 seconds before I saw the ISS, I saw another 
    object much dimmer, at nearly the same orbital plane.
    I checked with heavens-above and did not find any satellites or debris 
    being tracked, and it does not show any Progress or Soyuz in orbit other 
    than what's attached to the station. The closest I came up with was an 
    Abrixas Rocket which is not in the same orbital inclination as ISS, and 
    was much higher, and thus slower than ISS. The object I spotted was not 
    consistent with Abrixas.
    I couldn't track both objects simultaneously as the preceding object 
    faded into the approaching sunrise/light pollution and the ISS followed 
    soon thereafter.
    I have not had a good opportunity to view the ISS since then as either 
    clouds were in the way or the ISS was not in viewing range or too low to 
    the horizon for me to see it.
    Does anyone have an idea as to what it might be? Has anyone else noticed 
    a similar object ahead of ISS recently?
    Other than H-A, is there another site to explore sat viewing, including 
    dead or even secret birds? Any references are appreciated.
    Thanks for any input.
    Greg Williams
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