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General Satellite Question

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posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:16 AM
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OK I know that are many many star gazers in this forum so I have a general question for you. I saw something in the sky on August 2 @ about 10-10:30PM. I was outside with my son as we were taking our dog out and we were looking into the sky. As we were looking I noticed to be a satellite. As I was showing it to my son I noticed another one right behind it. He and I thought it was cool to see two satellites at once.

As he went inside I continued to watch them move across the sky at a rapid pace. IT then hit me in my entire life I have never seen two satellites that close to another(for reference from the ground looking up about 2") and it looks like they were traveling along the same orbit. It may have just my perspective, I am not sure.

I am not sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me given the lighting around me and just staring off into space for so long but at one point I could of swore the one behind closed the gap a bit then it looked like it stopped and continued. Again this could of been just my eyes playing tricks on me. I love the idea of UFO's but I try to keep an open mind about these things and always look to the logical first.

So I have been thinking it was still just two satellites in close orbit to one another or MAYBE space junk. But I am clueless if either are possible in such close of a orbit with one another and such a close orbital path. I was hoping someone here could clear this up for me that has incite on how satellites and space junk tend to travel around the earth. I plan on going outside about that time the next couple of nights to see if I can see them again if possible.




posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by the4thhorseman
So I have been thinking it was still just two satellites in close orbit to one another or MAYBE space junk. But I am clueless if either are possible in such close of a orbit with one another and such a close orbital path.



Although some satellites do travel in "formation" its also true that more likely you simply saw two satellites that just happened by sheer chance to be roughly in the same direction at that that time.
If you know exactly where you are, and what time it is, this website will let you know the names of any satellites over your head.
heavens-above



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:36 AM
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reply to post by the4thhorseman
 


It's not impossible to see 2 satellites moving together though I would think it is rare. You could be seeing the tail end of a launch of a satellite and its separated booster stage moving along with it I suppose. There is rumor that the military has some defense satellites that orbit in close proximity to each other, but nothing confirmed of course.


You can use Heavens Above to try to search out what you may have seen based on your time of observation and location on Earth.


edit on 4-8-2011 by Lost_Mind because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:39 AM
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Hey I believe I saw the same 2 satellites last summer.

I have a telescope and i'm familiar with the usual suspects and can spot a satellite easily and direct my way around the stars.

What I saw was amazing due to the fact they appeared so much closer to the earth, they were bright and they traveled at amazing speeds about 2 inches in the sky.

When I looked it up to try to find it and also using my planetary software I believe what they are is 2 German satellites on a short mission to map and take pictures of the earth. I can't remember the names but what they described fit what I saw.

They were the brightest fastest lowest and closest satellites i've ever seen, and it was pretty cool. I'll bet that's what you saw as well. I'll try to find it, but like I said i'm pretty sure they're the 2 German satellites.

You're in luck, I found them. I believe this is what you and I saw.
TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X



Cheers!
edit on 4-8-2011 by SadButTrue because: Added link



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:39 AM
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reply to post by the4thhorseman
 
The Heavens Above website is a good start. You can discover what sats are coming around when and what brightness they might be. If you know for sure what time you saw yours, you can work out what sats you saw.

ETA: I guess we're all agreed on Heavens Above then!?




edit on 4-8-2011 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:40 AM
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Do you know, it is , as far as I can deduce, impossible to get a straight answer on who controls the distance at which two satellites may get to one another in an orbit. One assumes that they cannot get to particularly close to one another, without risking one or both becoming unstable within thier orbital paths.

I honestly cannot answer this question, although it might be an idea for you to check the NASA website. You may wish to ask them about it. But be clever in the way you frame your question. Make no reference to what you saw. Just ask something like " Dear Sir/Madam, I was wondering if you would happen to know if there are any regulations or physical restrictions on how close two satellites may become, before thier orbits destabilise, or there is a risk of collision. Kindest regards...blah blah . "



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:44 AM
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I think you may have spotted a pair of stereo imaging satellites which produce 3D mapping. I don't know what they're called or what country launched them but I know they are up there. They work in the same way that one eye produces a 2D image while two create a 3D image because of the different perspectives.

EDIT - Got it.. German TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellites. Details here
edit on 4-8-2011 by fiftyfifty because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:45 AM
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reply to post by TrueBrit
 
You need to read the FAQs at Space Law, everything is regulated although there are possibly loopholes.

In terms of satellites maintaining distance from others? I guess that mostly this is self-determining when the costs of manufacture and launch are added to potential profit and protection of investments. Crashing into another sat would probably make the crasher liable for the costs of the crashee.


Are States liable for damages which might be caused by their space objects in outer space or on Earth?

According to the Outer Space Treaty and the Liability Convention, States Parties that launch or procure the launch of an object into outer space, or from whose territory or facility an object is launched, are internationally liable for damage caused by that object or its component parts. Such damage includes loss of life, personal injury or other impairment of health; or loss of or damage to property of States or of persons, natural or juridical (ie companies etc.), or of international organizations. The Liability Convention provides for damage suffered on the surface of the Earth, to aircraft in flight, and to other space objects or persons and property on such other space objects.

edit on 4-8-2011 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:49 AM
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Originally posted by SadButTrue
Hey I believe I saw the same 2 satellites last summer.

I have a telescope and i'm familiar with the usual suspects and can spot a satellite easily and direct my way around the stars.

What I saw was amazing due to the fact they appeared so much closer to the earth, they were bright and they traveled at amazing speeds about 2 inches in the sky.

When I looked it up to try to find it and also using my planetary software I believe what they are is 2 German satellites on a short mission to map and take pictures of the earth. I can't remember the names but what they described fit what I saw.

They were the brightest fastest lowest and closest satellites i've ever seen, and it was pretty cool. I'll bet that's what you saw as well. I'll try to find it, but like I said i'm pretty sure they're the 2 German satellites.

You're in luck, I found them. I believe this is what you and I saw.
TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X



Cheers!
edit on 4-8-2011 by SadButTrue because: Added link


Yeah I have to agree with this post. I was going to suggest it but I couldn't find anything confirming how close they were to each other. 350 meters, wow.... I think I saw them last year just after sunset as well...that explains one of my unidentified's, YAY!

ETA: I noticed as well that their orbits are intertwined as well, creating a "helix" style orbital tracing. So, to an observer on Earth they wont always appear as a pair but as a larger brighter merged pair. They plan to bring them within 200m of each other in the future...sheesh.
edit on 4-8-2011 by Lost_Mind because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:51 AM
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Awesome...thanks for the link! If my time was off. I thought it was 10 maybe it was 9 then it may be Iridium 47.

Search Period Start: 10:44, Tuesday, 02 August, 2011
Search Period End: 11:44, Thursday, 04 August, 2011

(Mag.) Satellite
02 Aug 21:04:13 -1 65° 107° (ESE) 28.8 km (W) -8 Iridium 47
03 Aug 20:58:11 -4 63° 108° (ESE) 12.3 km (E) -9 Iridium 26

That would explain on of them maybe that is if my time is wrong which is a possibility. But what about the second one does this software check all known satellites such as the German satellites mentioned above?
edit on 4-8-2011 by the4thhorseman because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:52 AM
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I saw a simular config. over central Texas on 7-28-11. My second line saw it too...



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:53 AM
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Originally posted by the4thhorseman
I plan on going outside about that time the next couple of nights to see if I can see them again if possible.


I think there's a good chance that may not work as easily.
The orbit they're in must not necessarily take 24h for one revolution.
GEO 24h
MEO 5h-12h
LEO 1h-5h
Molnija-orbit-12h
Maybe there are more, I'm not sure.



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:53 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


Thank you very much Kadinsky! That will no doubt be a tool bar button that will become worn with over use... figuratively speaking that is.



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:57 AM
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reply to post by HERACAT
 


Yes I am in Texas as well. If that means anything



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:58 AM
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reply to post by SadButTrue
 
think i saw the sat,s myself up here in the northern end of the UK..





posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 10:58 AM
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reply to post by the4thhorseman
 


What city If not a problem?



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 11:00 AM
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reply to post by Lost_Mind
 


Sent. Sorry I just don't like sending my info out to the free world that easily..LOL its there I am sure but they will have to look for it..HA!



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 11:03 AM
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reply to post by foxhoundone
 


Cool... I was thinking about planning to go out and see them again but the problem is they are so fast. Not only that but you have to see them at the right time of day, around sunset. It would take a lot of work to be able to catch these 2 intentionally, but they were cool to see if you're lucky enough.



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 11:15 AM
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Unless you were off on your time the TanDEM-X satellites were visibly passing over you at the following times on Aug. 2:



I would say that the 19:55 (CST) or 7:55pm sighting is as close to yours as we are going to get and would have been seen in the far western sky into a setting sun. In other words I don't think you would have seen them unless you knew exactly where they were going to be.

So, not the TanDEM-X set... rats..



posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 11:21 AM
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i also saw two satelittes move together on two occasions. one dot following the other at constant distance (about two fingers distance). I kept observing them through binoculars for about a minute - they didn't do anything fancy. there are satelitte formations, so I didn't think much about it.

But then this is a good opportunity to ask a satelitte question of my own.
Twice, I saw a very fast satelitte - and I just wonder how fast do they get? The speed was just a tad slower than that of a typical shooting star. About 2 to 5 seconds from horizon to horizon just over my head. Well, difficult to guess, but I gaze a lot and it was way out of the ordinary.

The second time I managed to see something similar through my binoculars, despite it being so fast. It looked like a neontube moving broadside (not like a thrown spear - the other way around).



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