Re: Sat track photo

Alan Pickup (
Fri, 24 Sep 1999 21:22:06 +0100

My conclusion that the "satellite tracks" are more likely due to an
instrumental effect may, indeed, be ignorant speculation by someone who
"never saw carefuly and studied accurately", but at least they were
based on measurements and examination of the photograph as it was
printed on the page of Sky & Telescope, and not a "bad scan of a bad

Of course I agree with Raoul that the "satellite crossroads" is not a
normal diffraction pattern. Did I claim that it was? What I was doing
what debunking Raoul's assertion that there were "no major stars on
trails" and pointing out that the two brightest stars in the Orion
Nebula were sitting precisely on the two clearest lines. Raoul may be
more credulous, but this stellar alignment, and the facts that the
trails are parallel, lie exactly N-S and at right-angles to the other
lines, are just too much of a coincidence for me. I just cannot believe
that the N-S lines are due to satellites or planes, and if they are/were
then the observer was incredibly fortunate and can pick the numbers for
my lottery ticket any time he wants :)

I know too little about the observational circumstances, including the
camera, film and processing history, to make a more informed guess as to
instrumental effect that caused those N-S lines. But their existence
leads me to view the other lines with the greatest suspicion. Yes, they
might be GEOs. But they might also be other artefacts of whatever it was
that gave us the N-S lines.

Incidentally, in case there was any doubt, diffraction patterns do not
always produce four-spiked crosses aligned in the vertical and
horizontal as Raoul suggests. The number of spikes can be 2, 4, 6 or any
even number, depending on what is causing the diffraction, and they can
appear in any orientation.

> Raoul Behrend <> writes
>My conclusions are (including some remarks by some other persons):
>- it can't be diffration patterns

See above

>- many people speak about things they never saw carefuly and studied
>  accurately

...unworthy of a comment, other than to say that I've been enjoying this
communal speculation and would be sorry if this unfortunate statement
discouraged anyone else from joining in.

>- basical optical properties are not known of Mr Everybody.

Mr Everybody
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