RE: Satellite lunar transit

From: Matson, Robert (
Date: Sat Aug 18 2001 - 11:44:59 PDT

  • Next message: Bruno Tilgner: "RE: Satellite lunar transit"

    Hi Bruno and List,
    > All in all, solar transits are much more likely to be observed than
    > lunar transits, and this is confirmed by the record of observations.
    > I know of only two verifiable and documented solar transit
    > observations:  one by Ron Dantowitz as described in the April
    > issue of SKY & TELESCOPE, the other one by a Belgian observer on
    > 25 June which has not been published so far but of which I have
    > a copy of the video recording.
    Large solar observatories, like the one at Big Bear Lake, CA, regularly
    observe solar transit events.  They probably even have recordings
    of some of them.  Most transits are by birds, mylar balloons or
    airplanes, but some are satellites.  However, since it's not their
    area of interest, they're not likely to go out of their way to
    publish or even document such events.
    When you say solar transits are much more likely to be observed
    than lunar transits, but then go on to say there have only been
    two "verifiable" solar transit observations, you imply that
    there must be no "verifiable" record of a lunar transit.  I
    guess I would ask, "verifiable" by what standard?  Few people
    regularly record video or still photography of such events.  But
    if you have multiple, experienced witnesses to the same event,
    I'd say that's sufficient.
    By that standard, sunlit satellite lunar transits have certainly
    been observed more than twice.  A group in California observed
    a Mir transit of the moon several years back which I have reported
    here more than once.  I consider that observation solid, and I
    believe they were the first.  They may even have recorded video.
    > On the other hand, I am not aware of any documented lunar transit
    > by a dark satellite.
    Optically, that shouldn't be any tougher than observing a silouette
    solar transit.  From an equipment standpoint it's actually easier,
    since you don't need a solar filter.  With a mobile telescope, GPS
    and the desire, I doubt one would need to drive more than 100 miles
    to observe such an event any month around full moon that clear
    skies permit.  --Rob
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