[amsat-bb] Slightly OT: That's no moon!

Andrew Glasbrenner glasbrenner at mindspring.com
Tue Jan 31 13:08:45 PST 2012

I was out in the yard getting something out of the car tonight, and as I am wont to do, looked up at the nice clear winter sky. I noticed something moving W to E, nice and bright. Although the path was similar to airliners coming in from the Gulf to Tampa International, this wasn't a plane. Nor was it ISS, as Pocketsat3 quickly confirmed. The straight W-E movement, and my location at 28 and change north, suggested an orbit of similar inclination. It plainly blinked out just before 19:41 local, just as it was approaching Gemini. My gut reaction was maybe the new Chinese mini-station?

Heaven's Above made it easy to search for visual passes, and the best match was an obvious one. Hubble Space Telescope matched my observations, with a max magnitude of 0.7. I had no idea it was so bright!

Just a neat experience I thought some satellite types might appreciate, and it all happened by accident from just looking up.

73, Drew KO4MA

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