RE: Retrograde objects and UNIDENTIFIEDS

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Thu Apr 01 2004 - 14:13:04 EST

  • Next message: j smith: "Retrograde objects and UNIDENTIFIEDS"

    James wrote:
    > I am interested in observations of possible natural Earth 
    > satellites (other than the Moon of course) and wondered if 
    > anyone in this list has made observations or is aware of 
    > repositories of observations of these type of objects.
    I have never observed anything of the sort, nor have I heard of observations by
    > In particular are retrograde objects with inclinations of 
    > around 137 degrees and 101 degrees.  A journal article (Bagby 
    > J.P., Natural Earth Satellites, Journal of the British 
    > Interplanetary Society, Vol. 34, #7,pg 289-293, 1981) 
    > suggested that these observed objects were still in orbit in 
    > 1981 but I have found no reference to them since that time.  
    The 137 deg orbit would have been roughly 413 X 13606 km altitude, and the 101
    deg orbit, about 417 X 23534 km. Assuming objects of reasonable density, they
    would have remained in orbit for years, in which case they would have been
    detected and reliably tracked by professional U.S. and Russian satellite
    trackers, one or both of which would have published the information.
    Professional and amateur astronomers would also have been expected to see them,
    and possibly track them successfully.
    In the absence of reports of such tracking, I strongly doubt that the described
    orbits were real.
    I can imagine similar "orbits" arising from rough observations of artificial
    satellites, planes, even birds, taken over very short arcs, to which one can fit
    a very wide range of theoretical orbits, which can only be confirmed by
    subsequent observation. 
    Ted Molczan
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