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Questions tagged [observation]

Questions regarding observation of spacecraft or phenomenon in space

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How will the “fleet of small asteroid hunters” of 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, ...
3
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1answer
223 views

How did Skylab's electrographic 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 ...
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2answers
132 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?
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
107 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 ...
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4answers
986 views

What is the fastest can we or have ever traveled in space?

What is the fastest vehicle currently in space? At what speed with our technology currently does physics restrict our speed limits in space?
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5answers
9k 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 ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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1answer
105 views

2 Hubble telescopes looking at each other in time [closed]

Hubble A (or a huge mirror) is 30 light minutes away looking at Earth and Hubble B. Hubble B is near Earth looking at Hubble A. A laser projector(similar to a movie projector) on Hubble A sends a live ...
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1answer
52 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 ...
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1answer
338 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 ...
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1answer
604 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 ...
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1answer
273 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 ...
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0answers
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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....
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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, ...
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1answer
177 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 ...
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1answer
135 views

How was radio telescope observation data transferred before wide availability of high-speed Internet?

We are used to having hundreds of megabits or more per second of data transfer rates at our fingertips, over the Internet, straight to our desks. For higher-end connections, even multiples of gigabits ...
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2answers
238 views

Atmospheric influences on earth to satellite visibility and vice versa (e.g. atmospheric seeing)

Are there qualitative differences between observing satellite from earth surface vs. observing earth from the same satellite. Given the same optics on both places. Does it matter which way we look ...
6
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1answer
111 views

Could a Kuiper Belt object fly by probe measure star distances by parallax better than Gaia?

Could a New Horizons class probe aimed to fly by a Kuiper Belt object 100 AU from the Sun use its camera, built to image the Kuiper Belt object, to also measure distances to stars (and distant Solar ...
3
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1answer
333 views

How does it look to be on the surface of Sedna?

Sedna is far away from the Sun and receives only a small amount of light, even if it is close to perihelion. What would a human eye see on the surface of Sedna? Would there be enough light to see ...
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2answers
193 views

Identity of source of Rocket Plume visible Eastern Australia, north of Scorpio, midnight 28 July 2016?

Visiting friends in the Northern Tablelands of NSW. I went outside and observed a clear diffuse blob to the north of Scorpio. At first I thought, comet, however binoculars revealed a characteristic ...
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What are amateur radio satellites passes?

On the website heavens-above.com, there is a page dedicated to the amateur radio satellites passes over a location.What is that and why this particular information? Also, since the website gives out ...
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1answer
243 views

Taking detailed photos of satellites using laser illumination

Is it possible to illuminate a satellite (LEO) using a ground based laser or other kind of light sources (visible light LED Array with mirrors) and then take a detailed photo of satellite? also a ...
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3answers
4k views

What does space look like from space?

We've all seen tons of images taken by astronauts and spacecraft, but many times they are artificially colored, include invisible light spectrums, or have a lot of contrast. I would imagine, without ...
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2answers
379 views

What viewing angles does the Hubble Space Telescope use during its orbit in LEO, avoiding the Sun and Earth?

HST is in Low Earth Orbit. It can of course not look through Earth which at that low altitude covers almost half of the sky. As far as I know it is also never pointed even remotely close to the ...
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2answers
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Is this really an image of the sun, or an “artist's conception”?

I just saw this image in this article in Phys.org, which is generally a great source of physics news. Normally I would expect them to post real images, or if they use artist's conceptions, they would ...
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1answer
128 views

Examples of short satellite durations?

In the past I (think) I've read of artificial satellites which are designed to go into orbit quickly to deal with a short term need for observation of some type. I'm now struggling to find a ...
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1answer
71 views

What kinds of objects could we potentially observe through gravitational waves? [closed]

With the discovery of gravitational waves, I keep hearing that we now have a "totally new way to explore the universe." But as I understand it, gravitational waves are only detectable when they come ...
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3answers
2k views

What is a “Double Iridium Flare” and how close can the two satellites be?

I just saw the term "Double Iridium Flare" and I'm wondering how close two Iridium satellites might actually be (in distance (km) and angle). I found this video as an example. ...
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2answers
197 views

Can I see the night side of the Moon? [closed]

When I look up in the sky, I can obviously see the day side of the moon clear as, well, day, cloud cover permitting, but a thought occurred to me: While I believe I can (barely) see the night side of ...
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1answer
2k views

How to tell a satellite is tumbling and out of control?

I've just read North Korea’s “successful” satellite in orbit, but tumbling and useless. How can we tell a satellite is tumbling or not? It's so far away!
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1answer
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Can the Sun set twice during the same day on Mercury?

Mercury's day is only a little bit shorter than its orbital period, the relationship is a 3:2 resonance. However, I noticed that the planet's angular velocity at perihelion, 0.265 arc-degrees per ...
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2answers
774 views

Why does the Moon only show its near side while orbiting the Earth? [closed]

When we look at the Moon in the night sky, why do we always see the same side every night?
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1answer
96 views

Moon's orbit and its phases

After learning what apogee and perigee are, I'm curious to know if/when these stages align with particular phases of the Moon? I'm obviously assuming that the orbit has a repeating pattern, but maybe ...
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3answers
1k views

Why does the ISS viewing times go through repetitive patterns of being always morning or always evening?

In examining the upcoming schedule for viewing the ISS, why does it seem like the AM/PM is repetitive. It will appear in the AM several days in a row, then it will switch to the PM several days in a ...
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1answer
466 views

Which of the planets could we detect today from just the movements of the sun?

Assume that despite our current level of space exploration and technology, we have somehow missed the existence of the other planets in our solar system. We have developed various methods of ...
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1answer
325 views

What are the known historic global and regional dust storms on Mars?

What is the actual calendar of observed global dust storms on Mars? And if available, any data about regional dust storms' dates, duration and coverage. I find online information about global Martian ...
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2answers
804 views

What are the fast-moving, bright things I saw July 25, 2015 at night?

I am an amateur in space, and I usually read here to better my understanding. I was camping Saturday night (July 25, 2015), and while I was looking at the sky I noticed a bright object moving really ...
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1answer
329 views

Speed of solar coronal mass ejection

From this video, it appears that material is being flung outward from the limb of the Sun at pretty high speed. Considering that the Sun is some 1.4 million km in diameter, and at least one band seems ...
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1answer
772 views

Does Earth get in Hubble's way?

Hubble takes very long exposures for its images so that it can collect enough light to see very distant objects. These exposures can be several hours, or even several days, long. I often read that the ...
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3answers
2k views

Does the ISS have zenith-facing windows?

I was looking at the NASA image of the day today, and it made me wonder about the windows on the ISS. I often see pictures of Earth taken from the ISS, but I was wondering if they had any windows that ...
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3answers
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How does New Horizons control its attitude?

I used NASA's eyes tool to see what's going at the time of New Horizon's closest approach to Pluto. I realized that in the programmed sequence, New Horizons is rotated on its axis by more than 90° ...
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3answers
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Were the Apollo lunar activities observed from Earth?

I understand that all manned landings on the Moon were on the near side, so technically they could be visible from Earth. Was it possible to observe landings and/or extravehicular activities (EVAs) ...
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1answer
269 views

Orbiting object with oscillating brightness

Yesterday was quite a good night to watch the sky using my 8 inch dobsonian (until moonrise at least). I was lucky enough to catch some satellites flying into my sight as I was searching for some deep ...
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2answers
3k views

Earth angular size looking from the ISS

Imagine you're, well, actually on the ISS so you're 395 km up. We've all seen many photos roughly like this... however this can be deceptive; They might be all fisheye lenses. A great many of these ...
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1answer
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Can we see the Russian Progress 59 spacecraft burn up on reentry?

Progress 59's orbit is decaying and it will soon reenter Earth's atmosphere. Will it be possible for observers on the ground to see it burn in the skies as it falls towards the Earth?
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1answer
117 views

Are we using software to analyze our telescope data? [closed]

It seems like to me all our analysis of stars and planets could be automated. A computer looks through the data for anomalies and then performs additional observations for that area and then outputs a ...
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3answers
973 views

If an unknown ship entered Earth orbit, would it be detected?

I was watching an old Stargate episode with big alien ships in orbit, and I thought 'in real life that would be spotted pretty quickly... um, wouldn't it?' I'm not saying I'm on the search for alien ...
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429 views

Will SMAP produce predictable satellite flares visible to the naked eye from the surface of the Earth?

The SMAP (Soil Moisture Active/Passive) satellite just deployed its 6 meters (19.7-foot) mesh reflector antenna today. The satellite orbits the Earth in Sun-synchronous retrograde near-polar, near ...