Astronomy

What were the 2 satellites I saw this morning?

What were the 2 satellites I saw this morning?



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This morning at 6:03am Israel time (3:03 UTC) I saw, simultaneously, what appeared to be 2 satellites streaking across the sky directly overhead. If I remember correctly, they were both coming from NW (but it was early).

Does anybody know what they were, or how I can find out?

I live in Mitzpe Netofa, lon/lat about 35.39/32.80.


The best way to figure it out would be to use the site "In the Sky" (https://in-the-sky.org/). You can enter time, date and location to identify satellites. This would at least be able to tell you if what you saw was a satellite.


What Did I See This Morning?

At 2:54 am Pacific Time, I was alerted to something in the sky. It was an unusually bright star in the Northern sky about 45 - 55 deg above the horizon from a rural area an hour away from Sacramento.

Within seconds it faded away. I looked at a wider area of the sky to see if it was a plane, but I didn't see anything and I am almost 100% sure that it was stationary.

I looked at the astronomy news and don't see anything yet, but did I witness something exciting?

Satellite flare

Satellite flare, also known as satellite glint, is the visible phenomenon caused by the reflective surfaces of passing satellites (such as antennas, SAR or solar panels), reflecting sunlight toward the Earth below and appearing as a brief, bright "flare".

The first generation of the Iridium constellation with 66 active telecommunication satellites in low Earth orbit were known to cause the brightest flares of all orbiting satellites. Throughout 2017 and 2018 they are being replaced with a new generation that does not produce flares, with the first generation expected to be completely phased out by late 2018.

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It could have been a meteor entering the atmosphere directly at you. That does rarely happen and the witnesses describe a phenomenon much like what you described.

Interesting. That is something I didn't think about.

Most likely an “iridium flare” from some defunct communication satellites. They occur at both day and night times and can be very bright if the angles are just right as the satellites tumble while on orbit now.

You can install an app called “Sputnik” which will use your smart phones GPS to calculate three sets of data. Visible passes with altitude, azimuth and brightness as seen from your current position. It will display the results in three categories: next 7 days, next 25”4 hours and last 48 hours. If you download this app you can probably find out exactly which satellite it was that you saw. In addition to iridium flares this app will also show visible passes for the international space station, Hubble space telescope and others.

Alternatively you can go to https://www.heavens-above.com in a web browser and enter your location on Earth by one of several means (GPS coordinates, street address, map, etc). From there you can see a listing of the same info the Sputnik app gives you plus a great deal of additional info.

Some additional space apps that are fun are:

Satellite Safari - shows the location of all satellites in near real time.

SkyView free - shows map of the sky with common bright objects. Uses your phones accelerometer to figure out what you are pointing your phone and gives you details about that object. You can also search for things such as Jupiter and an arrow on the screen will guide you to it.

ISS Spotter - shows the current position and distance to the International Space Station.


Planets Visible in the Night Sky in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Beta The Interactive Night Sky Map simulates the sky above Minneapolis on a date of your choice. Use it to locate a planet, the Moon, or the Sun and track their movements across the sky. The map also shows the phases of the Moon, and all solar and lunar eclipses. Need some help?

The animation is not supported by your device/browser.

Please use another device/browser or check out the desktop version of the Interactive Night Sky Map.

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What were the 2 satellites I saw this morning? - Astronomy

This application maps the current location of about 19,300 manmade objects orbiting the Earth.

Use the Preset dropdown menu to conveniently select a subset of satellites, for example, Russian or low earth orbit satellites. Selected satellites are colored red.

The buttons and sliders below the Preset dropdown can be used to build your own selection or refine a preset selection. It is possible to construct quite complex selections, for example, American satellites in low earth orbit (apogee/perigee <2,000km) that are not junk.

To clear the selection, click Presets > Reset All.

Clicking on an individual satellite in the 3d view will display a panel with detailed information. Links to NASA's website are provided for additional information. In addition to displaying name and orbital details, the 3d view displays the satellite's future trajectory with respect to the Earth's surface. By default the trajectory is for one day but this can be changed to either one hour or one week.

Perhaps the most surprising fact for users of this application is the large proportion of orbital objects classified as junk. Approximately 3/4 of manmade objects are spent rocket boosters or debris from satellite collisions.

It is important to note that satellite positions are derived from an ephemeris database downloaded in July 14, 2020. As such this app will not display satellites launched since then or reflect intentionally or unintentionally orbital adjustments. Similarly atmospheric friction and gravitational forces are likely to influence orbital position. However the different between projected and actual position is unlikely to be perceptible at the scale used.

If you encounter any problems or have suggestions for improvements please don't hesiste to let us know here.

This application was designed and developed by Esri's Applications Prototype Lab in Redlands, California. The application was built using the following technologies:


Elon Musk's satellites are starting to really annoy astronomers

Elon Musk’s space firm has grand plans. As well as going to Mars, SpaceX is set to launch up to 42,000 of its small Starlink satellites into orbit to provide worldwide internet access. This means launching more than ten times the number of satellites already in orbit into what is an already crowded part of space.

But since the launch of the first batch of satellites in May 2019, astronomers have worried about the impact the deluge of additional satellites will have on the night sky. This week, for the first time, a pair of astronomers saw first-hand the impact these ‘mega-constellations’ of satellites will have.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning in a remote observatory in Chile, Cliff Johnson and Clarae Martínez-Vázquez were going about their normal routine when something unusual and bright crept into their field of view.

The pair of astronomers were observing from the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), part of a four-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Coquimbo, Chile. The telescope is part of the Dark Energy Survey, looking for answers about what the mysterious force is that’s ripping our universe apart.

While they were observing, the researchers saw a “huge amount” of Starlink satellites crossing their skies. “Our DECam exposure was heavily affected by 19 of them,” Martínez-Vázquez wrote on Twitter. “The train of Starlink satellites lasted for over five minutes!! Rather depressing… This is not cool!”

Johnson, who works for Northwestern University in Illinois, put together a raw photograph of the satellites. “The exposure was a six minute optical wavelength observation taken as part of the DELVE survey that is imaging the outskirts of the Magellanic Clouds and broadly mapping the southern sky in search of neighbouring dwarf galaxies” he says.

The bright light reflected from the sun by the satellites shone onto the camera and causes loss of pixels, meaning information that could have been captured has been lost. “This was a noticeable, but not hugely destructive impact” he says. It affected one image out of around 40 taken during their observing run which lasted for the night, and only a small fraction of the pixels in that image needed to be discarded.

But things could be about to get a lot worse. Only two batches of satellites have been launched so far, with the second lot of 60 going up on November 11. Twenty-four batches are needed before they can cover the whole globe. Although they aren’t providing a service yet, the satellites are already having an impact on the night skies.

As the satellites had only been launched on November 11, they had not yet reached their orbital altitude so were closer to Earth than they will be when they are operational. Currently, SpaceX has permission to launch 12,000 satellites, which are planned to be sent at a rate of 60 every two weeks until the mid-2020s, but last month it filed documents showing plans to launch 30,000 more. And it’s not the only one OneWeb and Amazon have plans for similar fleets.

“This is the key,” says Johnson. “While this event was a relatively low-impact annoyance with relatively small impact on our science, the prospect of many thousands of satellites launching in the coming years could have a dramatic impact on observations.” He says he agrees with a recent statement from the International Astronomical Union, calling for regulation and consultation regarding the possibility of satellite constellations numbering in the tens of thousands.

“We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg after the first of many planned launches,” he says. ”It is important to have discussions now about how best to move forward, hopefully in cooperation with SpaceX and others.”

The average number of stars visible with the naked eye in areas of the lowest light pollution is about 5,000. Compared to the numbers of satellites proposed to be launched in the coming years, this is relatively small. Currently, satellite constellations like Iridium, owned by Motorola, provide communications like mobile data, but it only has a constellation of 66 satellites.

“Previously Iridium and other satellites were relatively few and had little effect on astronomy” says David Blanchflower, an astronomer and astrophotographer. With the numbers being discussed now, the satellites will be hard to avoid for astronomers, he says. According to researcher Cees Bassa from the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, once a constellation of 1600 satellites is launched, about 84 satellites would be above the horizon at any time.

“Astrophotographers will be especially affected” Blanchflower says, drawing on his own experiences of spending hours photographing the night sky. “Many hours of work could be spoiled by passing flashes of light.”

“When there will be more Starlink satellites, they impose two major problems” says Robin Mentel, who studies astronomy at the University of Leiden. “The problem with the StarLink satellites is not only that they will be numerous, but also that they will be very bright” he says.

SpaceX has previously said it will paint the base of its satellites black to minimise the amount of sunlight reflected by them during the night. However, in a recent photograph showing many of the satellites stacked up and ready for launch, they did not appear to have been painted black.

Another problem is the space they take up. “The space up there is finite, and the presence of space debris – used rocket stages, broken satellites, broken off satellite parts – already poses a certain threat to satellites” Mentel says. “Adding 12,000 satellites within a few hundred kilometers of height to each other, will dramatically exacerbate the problem: they basically will weave a web of satellites around the planet, each one endangering other satellites in the altitude and incoming spacecraft.”

Recently, the European Southern Observatory had to manoeuvre their satellite to avoid a collision with a Starlink satellite. This is something that was rare until now, says Mentel.

It’s not only research astronomers who will be impacted by the influx of satellites, either. In the future, it might become more common to see satellites in the night sky than stars. “Unless some way can be found to reduce their effects,” says Blanchflower, “I foresee problems for all night sky viewers.”


Related Content

Valley residents report seeing a string of lights across night sky, here’s what they are

“It has the goal of opening the internet to a wider variety of people,” Steffen explained. “Who otherwise don’t have access to it.”

It’s a remarkable achievement, but with technology adding up, he said research will take a hit, as streaking satellites create more light pollution.

“High tech instruments that are passing through the field of view,” Steffen said. “That kind of ruins the images you’re taking that make it hard to do for an analysis.”

However, he still calls this a step in the right direction for humanity.

In addition, those who witnessed it said they were thrilled to witness this moment in time.

“I was like wow, we really got to see it with our own eyes,” Rideaux concluded. “A historic moment, and history lesson as well.”

Steffen said Starlink can be seen by the naked eye for the foreseeable future, but as more time passes from their original launch point, the individual satellites will spread farther apart.

To learn more about Starlink, CLICK HERE.

To view a map of the satellite chain, CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


17 Star-Like Objects Seen Moving in a Single Line.

Description: I walked outside for a cigarette and I looked up and I was looking at the stars and I saw a row of stars moving and realized they were not stars so I got my phone to record and I counted 17 lights all in a single line.

Note: The video is not shown. It doesn’t show the star-like objects. The objects are likely Star-Link communication satellites and they are difficult to detect as they are not real bright.

Note to Commenters: If you are reporting a sighting, be sure to include the location (city, state, country), date and time of your sighting. Be detailed in your description. You may also use our report form to report your sighting. Comments will only be published if they are in "good taste" and not inflammatory. Also the name that you list in the comment will be posted. Use abbreviations or aliases if you don't want your name listed.

26 Responses to 17 Star-Like Objects Seen Moving in a Single Line.

I just saw a straight line of stars going SW to NE. I called my wife and grandson outside so I wouldn’t think I was crazy. This happened at 6:30 PM and lasted about 3 minutes.

You saw Star-Link communication satellites.

I am in Bellingham, Washington. I was walking outside at about 6:20 in the morning. I first noticed that the sky was really clear and I could see the stars really well. Then I noticed a line of moving lights. It seemed to go on for about 3 minute and it seemed like they just kept coming. Then I saw another moving light moving perpendicular to the line. Also, the lights seemed to be quite a bit more spaced out than the video of of the starlink.

Last night over Albuquerque, NM about 8:45 I saw two satellites in a row about 20 to 30 seconds apart. About a minute later I saw another two about 20 to 30 seconds apart. Then about five minutes later I counted 19 satellites in a row all about 20 to 30 seconds apart from each other. All were moving in a line from southwest to northeast. I do not think that they were the star-link satellites and can find no other information online to explain. Anyone know ? In addition to satellites that move from south to north and those moving north to south my wife and I saw about 27 satellites in about 30 minutes beating our record of seven over the course of an entire evening.

You saw star-link satellites.

Saw them again tonight, but they were slightly west at about 9:20 MST.

This morning I saw a stream of objects in the sky, at least 20 of them, all in straight line, all going the same speed, in the opposite direction that satellites normally go. They just kept coming, to the point I had to go wake up my husband. He saw them as well. I’m in Tacoma, WA and this was between 4:20 to 4:35 AM. Sadly if they are satellites I wont be able to see them again until possibly tonight since it will be light soon.

Yes, they are star-link satellites. You will see them again.

So, last night I had walked out to gather the chicken eggs at roughly 9:45 PM (April 26 2020) and noticed a line of lights breaking over the tree line to the northwest of my house which is in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. When I first noticed the lights, there were 5 or 6 and they kept appearing one after the other in a fairly straight line and spaced equally just like everyone on here has mentioned. I watch for a minute in a state of wonder then ran into the house to get my wife so I was not the only one to see this odd occurrence. Each light went, what looked like, straight up until they had gotten almost straight overhead and then disappeared one by one in what looked like the same exact spot in the sky. There where light clouds in the sky, but none where the lights disappeared. I did not count the total due to my state of confusion and wonderment, but would guess there must have been about 20 or so and the last 4 or 5 seamed to meander a little as the followed the line. It is very eerie with the state of everything right now.


Your Photos of Mysterious Line of Lights Over North Texas

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched Wednesday morning from Cape Canaveral in Florida with another load of Starlink Internet satellites. The rocket deployed 60 satellites into orbit.

Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed, completing SpaceX’s 10th mission this year pic.twitter.com/c15BveB3QE

&mdash SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 7, 2021

The launch was part of an effort to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites, known in the space industry as a constellation. The satellites are designed to deliver high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet.


Did I see the Grace-FO satellites this weekend?

I'm usually not very interested in tracking satellites, but I spotted something unusual (to me) this weekend and would like some help figuring out what I saw.

First, some background:

I am a long-time member of Central Valley Astronomers in Fresno, California. I spent Friday and Saturday night at my club's high elevation observing site near Courtright Reservoir in the Sierra Nevada mountains east of Fresno (37°04'54" N, 118°57'47" W, elevation 8140 ft ±. and primitive camping).

At about 00:50 on August 3 (i.e. very early yesterday morning), I was attempting to find asteroid (15) Eunomia. My SkyTools 3 observing plan gave a location of RA 21h32m15.8s / DE -05°40'33" (JDATE at the transit time of 01:42). The SkyTools 3 finder chart I printed gave a location of RA 21h30m03.5s / DE -05°55'48" (J2000 at 01:00).

I was using a Celestron CPC-1100 HD and a 41mm Panoptic eyepiece, which gives a calculated FOV of 59.7 arcminutes. I entered the JDATE coordinates into the hand controller (appropriate since the mount was aligned on stars that themselves are at JDATE coordinates) and found the exact star field shown in the J2000 finder chart. I always find this match to be encouraging.

I marked on the finder chart about two dozen of the brighter stars (and a few fainter ones) that I saw in the eyepiece, including Beta Aqr. However, I didn't spot the asteroid, which at magnitude 8.4 would have been brighter than about half of the stars I marked. Unfortunately, sometimes a SkyTools 3 finder chart for an asteroid completely misses the mark, even with updated orbital elements. It's happened to me maybe 6 times out of 100. Also, most of the time, the asteroid that is plotted in the center of the FOV is based on "extrapolated orbital elements" and a second version of the asteroid is plotted nearby that is based on a recent epoch for the orbital elements (in this case 2017.13). I have found that the "off center" version of the asteroid is almost always where I actually see the asteroid when I look, so my current practice is to recenter the finder chart to the latter version of the asteroid.

As I was marking stars on the finder chart (some as faint as 13th magnitude) I spotted a faint, equal brightness "double star" that wasn't on the finder chart. I roughly estimated both "stars" to be about 11th magnitude and the separation to be maybe 45 arcseconds. Then I noticed that the "double stars" were moving. in a south-to-north direction. very nearly through the center of the FOV. at about the speed that I have seen other polar satellites move. Intriguing.

When I got home this afternoon, I did a Google search for "twin polar satellites" and the only thing that came up were the Grace and Grace Follow-on missions. The Grace satellites are no longer in orbit, while the Grace-FO satellites were launched in May 2018 and are still active.

Except for ISS, I have limited experience tracking satellites. The satellite tracking app on my iPhone has at least 100 satellites, but Grace-FO isn't included. There is probably something on the Internet that would allow me to translate the ground track into the sky for my location, time, and FOV, but I don't know where to start. I did a few Google searches using relevant terms, but didn't find anything that would allow me to verify which satellite pair went through my FOV.


Planets Visible in the Night Sky in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Beta The Interactive Night Sky Map simulates the sky above Winnipeg on a date of your choice. Use it to locate a planet, the Moon, or the Sun and track their movements across the sky. The map also shows the phases of the Moon, and all solar and lunar eclipses. Need some help?

The animation is not supported by your device/browser.

Please use another device/browser or check out the desktop version of the Interactive Night Sky Map.

Currently showing previous night. For planet visibility in the coming night, please check again after 12 noon.