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Questions tagged [observation]

Questions regarding observation of spacecraft or phenomenon in space

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GCRS and ICRS Frame in Optical Observations from near earth

Lets say I am trying to observe the night sky. My telescope has a pointing direction. I want to compare the RADecs of each star with another. Now I have 4 cases. My telescope is on a satellite ...
NIKITA SEHRAWAT's user avatar
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How well can we predict asteroid impact location?

concern in December 2004 when initial observations indicated a probability up to 2.7% that it would hit Earth on April 13, 2029 - wikipedia on 99942 Apophis So we can predict that something might hit ...
Vorac's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
252 views

How much of what we see as “satellites” is space junk?

Ground observers using naked eyes see several LEO objects per minute under good observing conditions, and many times more with binoculars. These are usually referred to as “satellites”. Many are, ...
Woody's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Finding or calculating orbital velocities of celestial bodies at periapsis/apoapsis?

I'm writing a solar system simulation that uses n-body physics. To plug in the celestial bodies in our solar system, I'm copying orbital values from wikipedia. For one example, the wikipedia page for ...
xyz's user avatar
  • 31
4 votes
2 answers
592 views

Will the Artemis Gateway Lunar Space Station be visible from Earth by amateur observers?

When the entire Lunar Gateway space station is built it would be a bit smaller than the ISS. We amateur astronomers and observers love to spot the ISS and be able to follow the history of space ...
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
3 votes
0 answers
199 views

From where will the planned Artemis I launch be visible?

The latest planned Artemis I launch window is 69 minutes long, opening 2022-11-14T00:07:00−05:00, which if used will lead to a launch in complete darkness. I'm interested in the possibility of ...
Will's user avatar
  • 195
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why does JWST have such a big Blind Spot?

The JWST’s field of regard excludes a significant portion of the celestial sphere in the anti-sun direction. See JWST field of regard (FOR) (source of the image below) Also see How much of the sky ...
Woody's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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How close to the launch site at Kennedy Space Center does a press badge allow?

How much closer than Bananna Creek Viewing Area can a press badge get me to the launch site at Kennedy space center? Or any other way to get closer?
Cory Middersintin's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
84 views

After the ISS which other artificial satellites are the best candidates to try to resolve in a telescope?

This question was asked on the initiative of the user @uhoh here. I have a Sky-Watcher 10 inch Dobson telescope, equiped with a proper solar filter. Last year, I wanted to observe some satellites ...
undoredo's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
164 views

Can I observe a Venus transit before 2117 from a spacecraft in the Earth-Moon neighbourhood?

The Astronomy SE side of things is clear: The next Venus transit is in 2117. Good things they come in pairs, the 2004 had too many clouds for me, but 2012 was excellent. That means I will not see a ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
-6 votes
1 answer
217 views

How exactly are we ranging distances of objects in space? Are we doing it for real or is it just a hoax? [closed]

I have been wondering, maybe some one could enlighten me as to the answer I have been looking for. I have googled, but I am after a more direct answer to this question. If light takes X time to travel ...
Maize's user avatar
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1 vote
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Future plans and advances for improved extrasolar planet imaging; has anything changed since 2019?

I have seen What is the state of the art of exosolar planet imaging in 2019? but answers there simply address the types and quality of images. Here I'd like to ask about plans for future technology to ...
Outsider's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
296 views

Under what conditions can a non-resonant satellite stay hidden from an observer on the ground?

From the perspective of someone on the ground, a satellite is usually not above the horizon all the time. But can a satellite have such an orbit that it is never above the horizon? Such orbits clearly ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
206 views

Have any Apollo (or earlier) astronauts reported seeing Earth's aurora or related luminescent atmospheric effects?

Earth's aurora and related luminescent atmospheric effects are generally quite dim, and mostly but not always located in the general area of Earth's magnetic poles. That means to be seen easily by eye ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
653 views

How a spy satellite eavesdrop on another satellite?

I recently read about Mentor-4 (also alled USA-202 or NRLO-26), a gigantic US spy satellite (operated by NRO and the CIA) with a possible dish radio antenna of 100 meters in diameter located in GEO. ...
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
2 votes
2 answers
94 views

What stage of a Scout G-1 rocket enters orbit?

Last night I saw a Scout G-1 rocket body part called 1986-088B (according to COSPAR) with my binoculars. I researched a little and found that these rockets had 4 stages, called Algol, Castor, Antares ...
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
2 votes
1 answer
136 views

Will the Mars 2020 rocket be visible in the night sky?

When a Space X rocket was launched towards the ISS this year, the rocket could be seen in the night sky in Europe. The information as to where and when to look in the sky was even easily available ...
usernumber's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
152 views

Is it legal to sail near a Falcon-9 landing at sea?

Is it legal to pilot a sailboat near any of the autonomous spaceport drone ships? For example, is it possible to stay near "Of Course I Still Love You" during the first stage landing?
Ruben Kazumov's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
298 views

When will the telescope that last saw Starman/Roadster be able to see it again?

According to this answer to When was the last time that Starman/Roadster was seen? it was last seen by Earthlings at least at 2018-03-19 03:22:33 UTC by a 1 meter ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
1 answer
341 views

Astrophotographer Thierry Legault is not convinced that DarkSat is darker than the others. Have photometric measurements been reported?

In the video below Passage of 7 Starlink satellites including (supposed) "darksat" world renowned astrophotographer Thierry Legault is not impressed by DarkSat's darkness: SpaceX said they ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
1 answer
317 views

What exactly is SL-24 DEB (2010-028D)?

After 3 months of work I've been able to spot satellite debris with my 20x80 binoculars for the first time. The object in question is SL-24 DEB (2010-028D). According to the data presented in www.in-...
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
2 votes
0 answers
130 views

Predicting non-Iridium flares and Why NOSS satellites flare?

I just saw two point-like sources flaring in the sky in perfect sync. It was spectacular and a big surprise to me. The full event lasted at most 4 seconds. My position is in the Usera district in the ...
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
9 votes
2 answers
415 views

Has an astronaut ever seen another object in LEO pass by that wasn't mission-related?

The (currently unanswered) question ISS - Tiangong 2 minimum safe distance suggests that the two space stations passed within about 12 kilometers of each other. @peterh comments that astronauts in one ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
1 answer
208 views

Tracking the Soyuz MS-15 approaching the ISS with binoculars

Next Wednesday, September 25th, the Soyuz MS-15 will be launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome. I guess the trip to the ISS will be long (6 hrs to 24 hr) as usual. I want to see both the ISS and the ...
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
38 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is it possible to observe space debris with Binoculars?

Recently I've started to observe satellites with my 20x80 Binoculars. I'm amazed by the fact I can clearly track satellites and rocket bodies at 2000 km altitude (I've reached 8 mag with some objects) ...
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
2 votes
1 answer
225 views

What is the cause of the Terra Satellite color as seen from Earth?

Yesterday I spotted the Terra Satellite (EOS AM-1) with my binoculars. This is the 22nd satellite I've spotted. It all looked like usual but there was something very different: the satellite was ...
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
5 votes
1 answer
389 views

Are there any Earth observation-like spacecraft orbiting other planets or moons?

Earth has many observation satellites, with some having a resolution better than 1 meter. A consequence is that we can access high resolution images of almost every square meter of land (classified ...
Manu H's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
636 views

Was the command/service module visible from the lunar surface?

While on the moon, either outside or inside the lunar module, could the astronauts see the command/service module in orbit?
DrSheldon's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
12k views

What size and shape is an SL-16 R/B and for how long will they orbit Earth?

This night I've seen two SL-16 R/B on the sky with my binoculars. These where part of some Zenit rockets that launched satellites in the 90s. They travel at altitudes that double the ISS, uncontrolled....
Swike's user avatar
  • 2,501
3 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can we see the USA flag on the Moon from Earth? [duplicate]

Is it possible one day to see landing site flags on the Moon from Earth or from space without having to land using a telescope as technology progresses? Highly Related: Were the Apollo lunar ...
Muze's user avatar
  • 1
20 votes
3 answers
3k views

Could Hubble observe the night side of the Moon?

IIUC the Hubble space telescope cannot observe the Sun lit side of the Moon. And Hubble is never pointed closer than 90 degrees towards the Sun. But this still allows for observing the night side of ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
458 views

How far away can spacecraft be seen with an optical telescope?

In the question At what time in the Apollo 14 mission did the maneuver shown in this image happen, and what exactly was happening? I've included the image and information below. The caption says that ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
1 vote
1 answer
152 views

How will the "fleet of small asteroid hunters" proposed by the B612 Foundation & York Space Systems work?

The June 2018 news item in Science To find small asteroids that could hit Earth, private foundation embraces small satellites says: On 10 May, B612 announced a partnership with York Space Systems, a ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
1 answer
348 views

How did Skylab's electrographic ultraviolet camera work?

This answer links to history.nasa.gov's SP-404 Skylab's Astronomy and Space Sciences. In what looks like chapter 2, page 14 there is mention of Skylab's electrographic camera, shown below. In the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
2 answers
215 views

Have astronauts seen asteroids or comets?

Have astronauts ever seen asteroids or comets from space, either by eye, through a camera, or a telescope?
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

When was the last time that Starman/Roadster was seen?

Starman/Roadster (2018-017A, 43205) is a Falcon 9 2nd stage with a red sports car attached, in a heliocentric orbit in deep space. It was tracked by telescopes for several weeks at least after launch ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
0 votes
2 answers
152 views

What could the fast moving item I just saw on July 27, 2018 have been?

I saw a fast-moving item overhead Frankfurt, DE (slightly to the east of Frankfurt) at approx. 20:35 UTC on July 27th, 2018 with a track of something between 010° and 040°. There were no blinking ...
Florian's user avatar
  • 103
2 votes
2 answers
211 views

What can Halosat do that can't be done already?

The GIF included in the BGR article Watch the International Space Station poop out a tiny satellite that will search for (missing) matter which shows a 3U 6U cubesat ejected from the ISS. The article ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the fastest we could travel in space, or have ever traveled in space?

What is the fastest vehicle currently in space? With our current technology, at what point does physics start to restrict our speed in space?
Muze's user avatar
  • 1
42 votes
5 answers
11k views

Why are so many space telescopes placed in LEO instead of at Lagrange Points? And why do we hear about Hubble more than any Langrange-orbit telescope?

Here is the list of every space telescope launched by different space agencies - List of space telescopes. Most of the listed telescopes are placed in Lower Earth Orbit (about 95% of them). It's ...
Paran's user avatar
  • 965
14 votes
6 answers
4k views

Why do satellites appear to move faster when overhead and slower closer to the horizon?

I've been watching man-made satellites with the naked eye using the "Heavens Above" mobile app. They seem to move incredibly slowly near the horizon, but when they go overhead, they look like they ...
GlenPeterson's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
169 views

2 Hubble telescopes looking at each other for a world CCTV? [closed]

As technology progresses could something like a Super Hubble see satellite the Earth to have a time delay to have any use? Super Hubble A (or a huge mirror) is 30 light minutes away looking at Earth ...
Muze's user avatar
  • 1
1 vote
1 answer
71 views

Recommended source for familiarizing oneself with the applications of spectroscopy in planetary science

I have recently entered the field of planetary science as a limited-scope project which is part of my masters' degree in chemistry. My project is going to revolve around Titan and its complex organic ...
Don_S's user avatar
  • 379
5 votes
1 answer
394 views

Has the Humanity Star been spotted yet?

With all the hullabaloo that the Roadster/Spaceman duo has been getting, is there any indication that the Humanity Star has been seen visually yet? Any reports of it's sparkly mirrorball-like ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
12 votes
1 answer
801 views

Musk's Roadster = Russell's Teapot? [closed]

Summary: Assuming no foreknowledge of its existence, can Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster be detected and categorised from Earth? Bertrand Russell argued the following, an argument that is now known as ...
MichaelK's user avatar
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21 votes
5 answers
12k views

Is it safe to observe the ISS with the naked eye?

As far as I understand, when we view the ISS, it is because the sunrays get reflected from the solar panels of the ISS and reach us at the appropriate angle. So that would be equivalent to viewing the ...
User Not Found's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Has an astronaut ever seen pixies, ELVEs, sprites or blue jets (without a camera)?

The NASA Science video ScienceCasts: A Display of Lights Above the Storm shows several examples of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) (Upper Atmospheric Lightning) being filmed by high-sensitivity ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
0 answers
141 views

What's the rationale behind the false colours in solar observation photographs? [closed]

Images from SOHO, SDO and other sun observatories are often coloured differently for different wavelengths or temperatures: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/science/Sun-Wavelength-Chart....
Gnubie's user avatar
  • 945
4 votes
1 answer
520 views

Has anyone seen an actual spectrum of a satellite made by an amateur photographer?

If you use a shallow wedge prism or very low dispersion diffraction grating (e.g. circa 100 lines/mm) front of a camera, you can photograph the spectra of stars with a modern DSLR camera with a fast, ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
1 answer
811 views

Why do all satellites seems to have the same color from earth?

When you look up right after dusk or before dawn, you are very likely to see passing satellites passing overhead, still illuminated by the sun and reflecting daylight towards you. All theses appear ...
Antzi's user avatar
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