Can someone please help me identify the object moving from 'left' to 'right' in the 'upper' part of this video? (please forgive me for the artifact in the center of the video, dealing with FITS files is a new thing for me). It was recorded at 46.231694N, 27.6695E, between 20:18-22:30 UTC on 2023.06.26 (field of view ~2°). It's clearly not a LEO object, because of its speed (I suppose the longer, more instantaneous streaks are LEO satellites and the object I'm referring to is much slower). Likewise, it's probably not an asteroid because it was reported to MPC months ago and there was no feedback and if it is a NEO, other people would have seen it as well and reported it since then, I suppose. My theory is that maybe it's a Molniya or a GSO satellite, or possibly a satellite drifting towards its GEO slot? But these are pure guesses, any educated guess would be helpful. Thank you!

  • $\begingroup$ What is the brightest star visible in the field of view? $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2023 at 7:22

1 Answer 1

Center (RA, Dec):   (293.722, 36.808)
Center (RA, hms):   19h 34m 53.256s
Center (Dec, dms):  +36° 48' 29.747"
Size:   1.35 x 1.13 deg
Radius: 0.881 deg
Pixel scale:    3.42 arcsec/pixel
Orientation:    Up is 177.6 degrees E of N

the image solved by astrometry.net

The image solved by astrometry.net - to the lower right of center is the star 11 Cygnus.

11 cyg

The context area showing the star 11 Cygnus and the region of the image in the sky.

the trajectory

The object, unlike the LEO satellite streaks, appears to change trajectory. Maybe due to its elliptical orbit, a Molniya satellite might appear to trace an arc in the sky? A Molniya orbit has an inclination of +63.4 degrees, whereas the center of this image is at +36 degrees and the top is almost directly toward the south. The object appears to trace an arc going north and back south, as a Molniya at the apogee of its orbit, except the field of view is too close to the equator. Or it could be a "weather balloon".

  • $\begingroup$ I think the arc is due to parallax and the Earth's rotation during the time of the exposure. The length of the streaks and distance covered in X hours should give a good idea to how far away the object is, and that will give a better idea to the identity (satellite or asteroid). $\endgroup$
    – JohnHoltz
    Oct 11, 2023 at 14:07

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