Mystery Object

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Mystery Object

Postby Aratus » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:16 pm

At 1824UT on the 28th August I was taking a series of photos of the moon, when I was surprised to see a star-like object coming across the frame. Thinking it was a star which was apparently moving because the telescope was actually following the moon, I expected it to pass behind the moon. However, the object passed in front of the moon. Obviously not a star, and probably an artificial satellite, or piece of space debris. When I check the frames afterwards, and I zoomed into the object, imagine my astonishment when I saw not a dot of light but a line at right angles to the movement. Comparing several of them it seemed that the object was a rotating cylinder. Now this may be a case of bad seeing distorting the dot to make it appear to be cylinder, or an artifact of the optics. I've not captured anything like this before so I'm a bit out of my depth.
Image
Here it is showing it approaching the limb of the moon. (Line of sight, of course. It won't have been anywhere near the moon) I've indicated the direction of travel with an arrow. Then a couple of images, much magnified showing its apparent shape, and rotation.
Image
Any comments?
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, with an 80mm refractor as a guidescope. They are housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC for imaging.
Aratus
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:17 pm
Location: East Lincolnshire

Re: Mystery Object

Postby Gfamily2 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:12 pm

Aratus wrote:At 1824UT on the 28th August I was taking a series of photos of the moon, when I was surprised to see a star-like object coming across the frame. Thinking it was a star which was apparently moving because the telescope was actually following the moon, I expected it to pass behind the moon. However, the object passed in front of the moon. Obviously not a star, and probably an artificial satellite, or piece of space debris. When I check the frames afterwards, and I zoomed into the object, imagine my astonishment when I saw not a dot of light but a line at right angles to the movement. Comparing several of them it seemed that the object was a rotating cylinder. Now this may be a case of bad seeing distorting the dot to make it appear to be cylinder, or an artifact of the optics. I've not captured anything like this before so I'm a bit out of my depth.
Image
Here it is showing it approaching the limb of the moon. (Line of sight, of course. It won't have been anywhere near the moon) I've indicated the direction of travel with an arrow. Then a couple of images, much magnified showing its apparent shape, and rotation.
Image
Any comments?

Have you checked on Heavens Above for your location, to see if there were any satellites that you might have captured?
As it looks as though it's tumbling, it seems more likely that it is a discarded upper stage to a rocket, but I think these are also shown on Heavens Above site.

ETA - sadly it looks as though Heavens Above doesn't generally show details for satellites before it gets dark.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
Gfamily2
 
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Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Re: Mystery Object

Postby Aratus » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:14 pm

Yes, the sun was just setting as I took these photos. It is infuriating that the web site doesn't show objects throughout the day, and yet it does allow that for the ISS!

The object must have been bright because it was clearly seen as a white dot going across the lit side of the moon. The object was captured on 8 frames altogether, and now I've looked at each one, I am certain it is a tumbling cylinder. As you say, the most like identification is a rocket booster.
Here is a blow up of another frame. The light seems to be catching at both ends.
Image
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, with an 80mm refractor as a guidescope. They are housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC for imaging.
Aratus
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:17 pm
Location: East Lincolnshire


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