Having waited a considerable time for an Iridium flare to show they now seem to be arriving in abundance. This one was Iridium 59 which achieved magnitude -3.2. Like my last Iridium post it just managed to hit its bright spot just as it departed the frame. Unfortunately it coincided with the gap between exposures which, by necessity, is at least 2 seconds. This allows for the camera to fully process each exposure and if not included results in dropped frames.
Another synchronous performance as these 4 objects contrive to fly over at the same time. The early evening is now noticeably the busiest period as the sun begins to set deeper and the majority of the lower orbiting satellites become eclipsed more readily than during the summer months.
Not all Iridium flares are spectacular. This is Iridium 91 which managed to achieve its brightest point just as it was departing from the frame. At a meager magnitude -1.2 it was much dimmer than my previous Iridium posted on 4/10/2013.
Not very spectacular and difficult to spot this faint object was traveling extremely slowly. It was visible on every one of a sequence of 116 frames (each a 40 second exposure). The first of which was taken at 21.37.59 the last taken at 23.00.20. Its direction of travel was more than 45 degrees to the sidereal motion of the stars so not very geostationary.
The Andromeda Galaxy is prominent at the top of these images.
The law of averages made it likely that an Iridium flare would show up eventually on one of these random sessions. This one just managed to get in the frame....It is Iridium 95 and achieved magnitude -5.8 at the brightest point.
Somewhat annoyingly I switched off the camera just as this, brighter than usual, pair of (presumably) NOSS satellites entered the frame. A complete sequence of their passing would have been appreciated.
Some objects travel very slowly. Compared to the two obvious trails this object (toward upper centre of frame and moving to left) is positively pedestrian. At 40 secs exposure per frame it took well over 20 minutes to pass across the field of view.
This trio of close following trails had a couple of flashers. The first one has an interesting red component. The last one passes near to the Veil Nebula which is faintly visible on the frames. An oddly lit aircraft at bottom right completes this busy sequence.
My previous post mentions noise artifacts that can be produced within the camera . These are relatively rare and initially had me thinking I was looking at some legitimate and very unusual objects until some dark frame tests revealed their true identity. It is quite a coincidence that my next session produced a satellite
flash and a camera artifact close to each other on the same frame. This
two satellite plus artifact sequence shares the frame with the
distinctive quartet of stars in Delphinus.
As we are now in the period when Perseid meteors are likely to appear I've decided to use my wider 28mm lens to stand more chance of picking one up. No luck so far with meteors but another mystery single flash was detected (visible lower right).
I have found that sometimes the camera itself can occasionally
generate a bit of random noise (other than hot pixels) but such noise is
quite easy to identify on enlargement. My 28mm lens suffers some CA
around the edges when wide open which shows as offset spots of red. This
particular object has an associated red spot so confirms it came via
According to my satellite tracker this one is likely to have been Cosmos 338. I found it notable because of its distinctly reddish colour.
An enlargement of the trail seems to indicate the red component might be a series of erratic pulses but whether this is just a result of the photographic process or something else needs clarifying.
This one seemed a bit unusual....A faint object appears from bottom right corner and disappears with a flash near top centre. At 15 seconds per frame it is moving relatively slowly and flashing intermittently. The aircraft is rather less ambiguous.
It came as a bit of a surprise after the previous post that my first trial of a Bresser 5x50 night vision scope should have picked up a NOSS satellite pair. Given the small field of view the scope has it was even more remarkable. Although I am not yet used to how things appear in the Bresser this pair look to have been fairly bright. (1080 HD available)
I've noticed quite a few passes by these pairs of satellites flying around in unison. They are apparently NOSS (Navy Ocean Surveillance System) satellites and some information about them can be found here
With the notable "Coathanger" star formation in the frame this pair are crossed by something a bit brighter.
This is the first try out with a Samsung SCB-2000 video surveillance
camera as yet unmodified and using its default settings. It shows an ISS
pass on 15.6.2013 (with composite version added). The ISS is now quite
amazingly bright as it continues with frequent passes over the UK. (1080HD available)
This twilight sequence shows the ATV-4 satellite crossing some aircraft activity during its pursuit of the ISS. Although the sky appears very light as a result of the long exposures it is actually very dark and the aircraft's vapour trail would have been much less obvious to the naked eye.
In the early hours of 8/6/13 the ISS (@ magnitude -3.4) skims across the constellation of Hercules (top animation).
10 minutes later satellite ATV-4 "Albert Einstein" (@ magnitude -0.4) follows on its heels (bottom animation).
some info. from the ASTRIUM website:
The ‘Albert Einstein’ space freighter is now making its way to the International Space Station
On 5 June 2013 a specially adapted Ariane 5 rocket placed the 20.2 tonnes of the ATV-4 ‘Albert Einstein’ into orbit
The ATV ‘Albert Einstein’, designed and built by Astrium, is the
fourth unmanned European transport spacecraft for the International
Space Station (ISS). In addition to transporting fuel, gas, general
supplies and scientific equipment to the ISS, the ATV will also assist
in maintaining the Space Station’s attitude control after docking.
This is the 55th consecutive successful launch of Ariane 5, with a new payload record of 20.2 tonnes
The ATV-4 is the heaviest payload that Ariane has ever carried into orbit.
Orbit injection of the ATV needs a specially adapted version of the
Ariane 5 launcher developed and produced by Astrium. This Ariane 5 ES
has a reignitable EPS upper stage, a strengthened VEB, and a
specifically redeveloped flight programme. This re-ignition capability,
required to inject the ATV into an orbit from which it can reach the
ISS, was first demonstrated in flight in 2007. The re-ignitable upper
stage functioned flawlessly, and positioned the ATV on the target flight
animated gif. 3.68 mb animated gif. 3.60 mb Lens 28mm. 30 second exposures (click thumbnails for large versions)
This interesting twilight sequence shows two unidentified satellites on nearly identical paths following each other closely while the much brighter ISS passes across them during the early evening on 7/6/2013.