Re: Sighting - Series of Satellites In Line Friday 23 1050 UTC

From: Bruce MacDonald (macdonalddevizes@tiscali.co.uk)
Date: Mon Dec 26 2005 - 07:47:19 EST

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    Lee Emerson wrote:
    
    > At 10:50 UTC on the 23rd December I saw three satellites travelling in
    line
    > in a NNE direction from about 80 degrees alt.    They entered the earth's
    > shadow fairly quickly.  They were equidistant from each other and spanned
    > roughly the same distance as the belt of Orion.  I would put their
    magnitude
    > as roughly equivalent to the brightest stars visible in the constellation
    of
    > the Pleiades whose position was near to the satellites' path.  They
    appeared
    > to be travelling directly in line (along the axis of their path) and at
    > exactly the same speed suggesting that they were at the same height.
    >
    > Amazingly about two minutes later two more satellites travelling virtually
    > on the same path and apparently at the same speed as each other passed
    > overhead in the same direction . They weren't exactly in line though as
    the
    > other three were.   Their magnitude appeared to be equal to some off the
    > dimmer stars in the Pleiades.
    
    Welcome to SeeSat-L Lee.
    
    Congratulations, you have spotted two generations of US naval ocean
    surveillance satellites or NOSS.  Second-generation NOSS fly in trios,
    though they are usually seen in a triangle formation.  Third-generation NOSS
    fly in pairs with the leader offset slightly with the trailer.  Run a Google
    search for "NOSS" and you will find a lot of information on the net, even
    though this is a classified programme.  Under the right conditions these are
    visible with the naked eye.
    
    Best wishes
    
    Bruce
    
    Bruce MacDonald
    COSPAR Site 2751
    Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
    51.3440 N 1.9849 W 125m (WGS84)
    
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