Re: UnID geosynchronous sat

Ron Lee (
Fri, 19 Dec 1997 15:35:28 -0700

My best "analysis" indicates that it was either a geosync not in my elset
databases or Cosmos 1785 (#17031).  Elset is as follows:

1 17031U 86078A   97349.05393687 -.00000170  00000-0  10000-3 0  5937
2 17031  66.5744  76.4075 6943384 229.5229  45.6526  2.00410645 81776

This is a Molniya class orbit and the track near Alnitak was close to due
north (perhaps 15 degrees east of due north (celestial).    If the pic on 
your web site is oriented with celestial north straight up, then the paths
are inconsistent.

Ron Lee

At 11:19 PM 12/20/97 EST, you wrote:
>Can anyone help ID this bird?  Cheers, Dan Laszlo
   >During the evening of 18 December, I was imaging the Flame Nebula from
my home
>in Maine.  Using a 16" Newtonian and a CB245 CCD camera, I was taking a
>of 10-second images of the nebula.  
>At the end of the observing run, I was looking through the images and noticed
>a short trail on three successive images.  I have found a trail across an
>image before, but usually a satellite will trail across only one image since
>they are moving relatively fast compared to the small field of view of the

>This slow relative speed indicates that what I imaged is a geosynchronous
>satellite, slowly wandering near the celestial equator.  The Flame Nebula is
>right next to the leftmost star in Orion's Belt (Alnitak) and so is at
>approximately -2 deg declination.  Apparently, this satellite wanders north
>and south in this region.
>If anyone can identify the object that I imaged, please let me know.  The
>image was taken from Maine at appoximately 2030 EST, 18 Dec.
>Jeff MacQuarrie