Questions tagged [artificial-satellite]

Questions about man-made objects orbiting astronomical objects.

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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Calculating the apparent magnitude of a satellite

I'm writing a program that involves calculating the apparent magnitude of satellites from a ground location. I currently have the intrinsic magnitude of the satellites and the solar phase angle in ...
4 votes
1 answer
622 views

Help identify a bright and round object photographed through a telescope

It was a brightest object in the sky. Attached is the picture taken on 25th January around 6pm in Riga / Latvia, towards the south direction: Apologies for a quality of the picture, the telescope was ...
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9 votes
1 answer
317 views

Can New Horizons be used to measure the distance to Betelgeuse (despite its fickle photocenter)?

The New Horizons spacecraft is almost 50 AU from Earth and near-simultaneous images taken by its telescope and one on Earth have demonstrated parallax without relying on the movement of Earth in it's ...
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2 votes
2 answers
602 views

How bright are geostationary satellites due to reflected sunlight?

We are all familiar with seeing low-Earth orbit satellites scooting across the sky in a couple of minutes. Many of them are bright and readily identifiable with the naked eye. Geostationary satellites ...
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18 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did New Horizons take such well-lit pictures of Pluto?

The photos of Pluto from New Horizons are truly beautiful. But considering that Pluto is so far away from its nearest start - our Sun - how is it so well lit up? Did the New Horizons have a massive ...
18 votes
2 answers
710 views

Did nobody in the Astronomy community think 12,000 new satellites in LEO might be a problem?

This answer to Can / should the Starlink satellites be blackened? mentions Space News' SpaceX working on fix for Starlink satellites so they don’t disrupt astronomy where SpaceX chief operating ...
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2 votes
1 answer
122 views

Bright star or flare near orion?

This morning at 6:12 am looking south from Georgetown, Texas, there was a brief very bright stationary object what appeared to be a star that once I saw it within the next few seconds quickly vanished....
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7 votes
1 answer
272 views

What is the LSST's plan to address frequent satellite trails in data?

update: From Nature.com News article: SpaceX launch highlights threat to astronomy from ‘megaconstellations’: But an upcoming, cutting-edge telescope could be in bigger trouble. The US Large Synoptic ...
  • 30.7k
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do satellites impede current telescopes?

As we send up more and more satellites, it stands to reason that our view of the universe becomes more and more obscured. I would certainly expect for example that a large telescope such as the LSST ...
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Will Starlink deface the night sky?

There is some discussion (and there are some questions on this site) about the impact of Starlink on observational astronomy. I am not an astronomer, but I am amazed by the beauty an immensity of the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
299 views

How do observational astronomers manage streaks and other artifacts from objects in Earth Orbit?

There are thousands of satellites and spent rocket parts in low earth orbit (LEO). Mostly near the lines of dawn and dusk they can be in sunlight while observatories below are still viewing the night ...
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4 votes
1 answer
526 views

What produces gravitational waves with "periods between about 100 - 8000 seconds"?

The Ulysses mission has a compelling story. It was sent to Jupiter to perform a gravitational assist shooting it out of the plane of the ecliptic in order to fly over the Sun's north and south poles ...
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2 votes
1 answer
281 views

What would this moving point of light be?

Tonight (10:00 PM EST Middlesex County, Mass.) when looking at a mostly clear sky I observed what I at first believed was a meteor. This point of light was moving east to northeast, and that would be ...
2 votes
1 answer
319 views

"Mysterious radio signals" - how could a geostationary satellite and Ross-128 line up with Arecibo?

The Phys.org article 'Mystery' signal from space is solved. It's not aliens cites a summary of the conclusion "by Abel Mendez, director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University ...
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1 vote
4 answers
4k views

Can satellites travel in clusters?

Last night we saw a large cluster of what looked like exceptionally bright stars that moved, as a group, across the night sky in Lancaster, PA. It was about 9:15 pm, and they moved roughly from SW to ...
0 votes
3 answers
23k views

Slow moving star like objects in the night sky [duplicate]

So yesterday at about 2am I was watching the sky when I saw a small star like object moving very slowly across the sky. My initial thought was that it was a satellite due to the fact it was moving so ...
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