SATOBS and 2 UNID objects 16 jun 2005 UTC

From: Stephan Szyman (
Date: Thu Jun 16 2005 - 01:43:26 EDT

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    this evening I went outside to observe UARS which nearly "clipped"  arcturus 
    at 03:22:40 UTC 
    at the moment it was near izar in bo÷tes (epsilon bo÷tis) I determined it to 
    be roughly equal in brightness to that star (2.34), perhaps even a tad 
    then I watched envisat,
    which is one of my favorite objects to observe due to its size and distance 
    (roughly that of a school bus and approximately 784 km at the zenith, 
    respectively.)  I watched it fly nearly through the zenith (82 degrees 
    elevation) and then barely wide to the left of scoring a "field goal" 
    between kochab and pherkad at 03:30:56 UTC.  I was surprised that  I was 
    able to maintain sight of it until it neared polaris (I lost sight of it due 
    to its dimness/ light pollution at approximately 03:31:30 UTC, just near an 
    object starry night pro shows as HIP51502.)   no matter how long I continue 
    with this hobby, it still strikes me as amazing that I can see a school 
    bus-sized object from a distance of more than 1000 km with my unaided eye.
    UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT #1:  between these two planned observations,  a bright 
    flaring object caught my attention in cygnus just near albireo (beta1 
    cygni).  this flare was at least -4.  the object appeared almost stationary 
    but had slight motion, straight downward, toward the eastern horizon.  the 
    time of this flare was 03:25:55 UTC, plus or minus 5 seconds.  what the heck 
    was it?  starry night pro shows iridium 15 in the area but at least 25 
    degrees from the object I spotted,  and on the wrong trajectory;  the object 
    I saw was within 5 degrees or so of albireo and definately below vega.
    UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT #2: as I was fumbling with my watch and looking back to 
    ID the point of the sky where this object was fading,  I caught sight of 
    another object,  moving left to right, parallel to the horizon, also 
    unlisted in heavens-above's  "brighter than magnitude 4.5" list.  it passed 
    within 1 degree or so of both 41 cygni and gienah (epsilon cygni)  and I 
    estimated its magnitude at 4.0.  the time of the nearest proximity to gienah 
    was 03:27:47 UTC, plus or minus 5 seconds.
    also, I witnessed a beautiful ISS pass over mars (mars was behind a solid 
    line of clouds and then was revealed as they moved eastward during the 
    pass.) the visible pass took place between 09:04:33 UTC on 14 Jun 2005  and 
    ended for me when the station dipped into the aforementioned line of 
    cloudcover at around 09:06 UTC. I watched the station emerge from the shadow 
    in sagittarius.
    clear skies (y un saludo al zaragozano!)
    Steve Szyman
    Saint Ann, MO USA 38.7270N, 90.3830W El. 171 m
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