Unknown satelitte pair

From: William Chellis (wmchellis@gmail.com)
Date: Sat Oct 14 2006 - 23:14:06 EDT

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "RE: Unknown satelitte pair"

    I am hoping you can help me figure this out.
    This evening, I was trying to locate comet swan from my home. It was a
    little late for my location, as the hill and tree line cut into my
    horizon significantly.
    But I tried anyway. I took my 4.25" f/4 Star Blast reflector out and set it up.
    I line up on the pointer from Ursa Major and start scanning in the
    general area for the comet.
    I catch a glimpse of movement, and recenter. Yes, a satelitte.
    I let the moving dot slide on out of the frame, and just as it
    disappears, a second, satelitte also appears.
    Whoa! What was that?
    I followed both of those points for over 2-minutes, before I lost them
    in the trees.
    I tried to see the naked eye, but couldn't.
    They both appeared to be traveling at the same rate, and in the same
    direction. General direction, NW to SE.
    I could keep them both in the one telescopic field of view as I followed them.
    I was convinced that I had witnessed the ISS and a seperate resupply
    ship, which were either had just recently come apart, or which would
    soon dock.
    So I run inside to check Heaven's above, and I am shocked when it
    tells me the ISS isn't visible from my location today.
    For that matter, I couldn't find any satelitte on the site that seemed to fit.
    What the heck did I see? Planes in formation? I'm a private pilot (not
    current at the moment) and I don't think I saw planes.
    I've seen enough satelittes to believe that is what I saw.
    I'm guessing that my field of view in the scope was somewhere between
    2 and 3 degrees.
    Here are my location details:
    My location:
    Seymour, Connecticut, USA
    Approx. : 41 35' N 73 4' W
    Time : Approx. : 20:45 PM
    Scope details
    Mirror 114 mm diameter
    Focal length 450 mm
    17 mm plossl eyepiece
    Can someone point me in the right direction here? What did I see?
    Thanks for the help.
    -Bill Chellis
    Editor, The Shooting Star
    Astronomical Society of New Haven
    wmchellis AT gmail DOT com
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