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Help identifying objects just seen.


Perkil8r
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Just seen a couple of slow tracking objects following the same path in an exact line about 1 degree behind each other at about 9:26pm. They were going from North to South just below the end of the pan handle in the East. Anybody got any ideas what they were?

 

They were moving about the same speed as ISS possibly slower and were about mag 3 or 4. I've looked on heavens above and my version of stelarium with no joy.

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I had a look at look at Micks heavens above url and punched in the lat/long for Derby, but couldn't find any two satellites close together on similar paths at that time.

 

Did you get to the bottom of it Mike?

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still none the wiser. Had a good hunt on heavens above with no joy. It was very odd indeed. I thought about the possibility of them being planes but they were steady white lights that gradually faded out just as a satellite would. They tracked across between the end of the pan handle and arcturus. What stuck me as odd was the direction as they were going the opposite direction to the majority of other satellites.

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A quick Web search suggests that most of the north south moving satellites are for military reconnaissance as they need to view all parts of the earth over a day. Most military satellites cannot be identified on sites like heavens above due to secrecy.

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Something else that came from my web search was "Vantablack paint". It is made with billions of carbon nanotubes that absorb an incredible 99.98% of incident light or infra-red. This has been tested since last year on some satellites to improve contrast and performance in star tracker based positioning control systems.

 

Apparently the paint is available in spray cans, and has been used by an artist to great effect. It is so black and non reflective that the artist has created some very weird effects with it. Just what ATMers need in telescopes. It is made and supplied by Surrey Nanosystems in the UK. They seem to be flogging 40mm by 40mm evaluation samples at £300 each! :o They don't give a price for the spray cans, but you can phone them if you're interested. :D

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We have had a lot of high level military plane activity over us these past few days. Most heading in that direction. Con trails yesterday showed at least 6 coming from the west then turning south more or less over us. As I watched yesterday 2 high level planes did the same in close succession. Maybe night time manoeuvres?

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