posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 12:56 AM
reply to post by Phage
reply to post by ikonoklast
Since most satellites move east (more or less) the direction isn't a problem.
Let's start by guessing that the object is a satellite and it's in an orbit 250 miles above the Earth. That gives it a speed of 17,157 mph (4.76
mi/sec). At that altitude 4.76 miles has an angular length of 1.09º when directly overhead. For an angular velocity of 1.09º/sec.
Now, we don't know the elevation of the Sun at the time (or do we?) and that "1º/sec" is a suspiciously round number but the lower the orbit, the
faster and there are satellites which orbit lower than that so, a satellite is entirely plausible and is the likely culprit and prime suspect.
Thanks for the reply Phage, I appreciate your input. No, unless some new information has come out we do not know the elevation or the time.
reply to post by ChuckNasty
No. It's the observed angular velocity...how fast it was moving across the sky. Astronomers do not make observations from the center of the
Ok, if it is relative to the telescope and not to the center of the planet, this would explain why my calculations showed it moving too fast for a
satellite. I was using the observed angular velocity from the telescope when calculating the speed of possible near objects (like a possible weather
balloon), but I was using the center of the planet for calculating the speed of a possible satellite.
I based the assumption that the angular velocity of a satellite would be specified relative to the center of the planet on sources like this:
SOURCE: How Do We Calculate a Satellite's Orbit? by Franz T. Geyling
, Mechanics Specialist -
Head, Analytic and Aerospace Mechanics Department excerpted from Satellite Communications Physics
, Bell Labs, 1963
But if the astronomer was basing the angular velocity on his position, not the center of the earth, then that seriously changes my calculations for
the speed if it's an object in earth orbit. If that's the case, I agree with your calculations and I agree that speed is feasible for a satellite
in earth orbit.