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Thread: Ever watch the satellites?

  1. #1
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Jan 2010

    Ever watch the satellites?

    Ever watch the satellites? I bring this up because, it seems, there are people who haven't. I find it kinda amazing how much "space junk" is up there.
    Of course, the satellites don't have lights so when you take a peek you are actually catching the reflection of the sun off the satellite. It works best in an area of as little light pollution as possible and just look to the east and watch for the fast moving star. I was just out closing things up for the night and saw 5.
    There out there- and up there.
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  2. #2
    It's a way of life! oldnslow's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Ash Grove, MO
    I do! I have great memories of the first time my dad showed me one. Must have been 40 years ago. I amazed my girlfriend just a few years ago by showing one ! My son and I used to lay on the trampoline at night and watch for them. (we lived 'in the country' so it was plenty dark!)
    Mike Davis
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  3. #3
    We live 53 miles out of town, in the desert, at 3600 ft msl, in what is one of the least ight polluted locations in the United States. And have 330 suuny days and clear nights a year. So yes, we watch the sky a bit. In fact, we are going to the McDonald Observatory on Monday night to a star party of sorts.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  4. #4
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Braintree, MA
    Last time I actively watched was at Meat Cove half a dozen years ago. Summer night, so not exceptionally clear, but between the birds and the Milky Way, it was sweet to lie on the picnic table for awhile.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 And DRAT! Missed the last one in 2015!

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  5. #5
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    May 2011
    Greater Bahstin, Massachusetts
    When I was a kid we went outside to watch Sputnik (the first man-made satellite) go overhead. Later we were able to pick up its feeble radio beacon on our ham radio receiver. There wasn't much danger of Sputnik crashing into another satellite - it was the only one up there. Now the only thing that prevents satellite traffic accidents is that they are all going in the same direction, more or less. It's quite a junkyard, though.

    I've learned so much from my mistakes I think I'll make a few more.

  6. #6
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    Watched Echo when young

    Have seen ISS lately
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  7. #7
    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Larry's River, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    Last time I actively watched was at Meat Cove half a dozen years ago. Summer night, so not exceptionally clear, but between the birds and the Milky Way, it was sweet to lie on the picnic table for awhile.
    As you know Tom our 'Resident Astronomer' (Salty Fog Riders Rally), Quinn, has now provided two excellent lessons on starry nights. Once in Larry's River and another at the KOA at the foot of Kelly's Mountain in Cape Breton. Now, if we can just revisit the sort of clear night in Meat Cove that you mentioned, we could have a real earth bound celestial happening at the 'edge of the earth'! - Bob
    Bob Weber
    Larry's River, Nova Scotia, CANADA

  8. #8
    Registered User ItsPhilD's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    Taken N of Phoenix looking S. The bright light in the bottom right is Phoenix.

    This one is from Mt Lemmon just outside of Tucson. The side of the mountain is visible due to the ambient city light from the city.

  9. #9
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    Twin Cities - MN
    Watching the sky for satellites was an activity I first participated in with the Boy Scouts when my son was younger. We'd be out at camp, and the boys and leaders would just lie on our backs and watch the night sky. Fascinating stuff.
    Brad D. - Member #105766
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  10. #10
    Electronically tested chubbyknuckles's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    North West Central BFI


    Go to
    You can sign up to receive notices for visible passes in specific locations.

  11. #11
    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    Wine Country, Northern California
    I remember watching them as a kid. It was a big deal then. We were at the peak of the space race between the US and the USSR.
    MOA #57883
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  12. #12
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
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    Otsego, Michigan
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  13. #13
    Yes, I do. Being the amateur star gazer that I am, I often use the Sky Guide app when I'm on a road trip, tenting somewhere in the summer.

  14. #14
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    There is an app called Starwalk that H has on her IPhone, have seen it on a IPad which works better. Not sure about other tablets.

    You hold it up to where you are looking in sky and it shows what's what...includes satellites...It tracks as you rotate your view.
    One could get lost out on the back deck gazing with this ...I was "star-struck" pretty cool I thought

    The ISS swept across right before sunset the other night, only thing in view for about 6 minutes.
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  15. #15
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Portland Oregon
    So there are little specs of light in the night sky? And some of them move? Here in Portland such things are unknown unless one stands under a street light in the rain.

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