Re: Complicated Question about sky geometry

From: joseph daniel (
Date: Mon Sep 10 2012 - 04:13:37 UTC

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    Bjorn & List :
     Wow , this really has been an incredible learning experience for me .
    This daytime sighting had me scrambling , and then some .
     Last night , in a Paint program ,while I waited for the skies to clear
    I began to try and map out approx where that area "should" be , and which
    resulting sats were in that approx area . 
     I caught myself in another mistake however , when I forgot how many
    degrees a fist at arms length was . Once again I had to google it and
    of course the answer is "around 10 degrees" . The total lack of any
    flare sightings recently has somehow erased that part of my memory,
    ... again .
     For some reason I had 5 degrees stuck in my head so when I initially
    reported that flash's location , I did so incorrectly . It was around
    20 degrees towards the horizon , not 10 .
     Using that as a starting point to drop 20 degrees I did another search in
    Satflare but much tighter this time . Choose 8 degrees, and two Cosmos sats
    were suggested , but the one (COSMOS 1778) was a minute or so out of the area
    as it was moving very rapidly .
     Turned out that COSMOS 1651 was very close to that hypothetical sector ,
    but I would have to get back out when skies cleared to make sure that the
    hypothetical matched the practical .
     Skies finally cleared tonight and I was able to re-use my "2 fists
    toward the horizon from the midpoint of the line between Altair &
    Arcturus" method and discovered exactly where that resulting area was
    and which stars it actually involved .
     45 minutes later that the initial UTC and performed that odd looking hand
    waving and after many attempts at trying to memorize the stars , so that I
    could get back to Satflare's SkyChart and do the final sleuthing to see if I
    had a winner or just a freak unexplained event at the end of a bad day , I
    crossed my eyes, I mean my fingers , and headed back home .
     So , anyway , if you look at this very busy image (sorry about that)  (112 KB)
    you will see that yes indeed , my crude initial geometry confirmed that
    COSMOS 1651 was within 4-6 degrees of where the elaborate calculations
    (using Satflare & a Paint Program) said it should be .
     Those splined lines I drew turned out to look very much as the real night
    sky looked , with the intersecting line between Altair & Arcturus passing
    between the upper Sarin and lower Ras Algethi & Ras Alhague .
     Sounds like bull , I'm sure . I mean , how can a human , at dusk, just
    use 2 far apart stars , his hands & some crazy right angles to determine where a
    possible flash may have originated from space , but I assure you it is
    all true, not just severe wishful thinking .
     Not sure why it was so much fun , but it really was .
    Thanks for your time ,
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