CZ-3 and Coathanger (8/7/3028) PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 07 August 2018 22:39

ust a quick entry, showing that you don’t need to lug the scope out to enjoy astronomy.

I’d gone outside with the binoculars to hunt a couple of things – the night was pretty clear (though a heavy bank briefly obscured the entire sky at one point). Still, I looked around at Polaris and tracked a few stars I liked. At about 9:30, I saw a satellite pass over, west to east, just a little north of due overhead. I used to have a pretty good tool on my old computer setup to follow such things. A little desperate looking and I found a couple of good sites. I did notice that the ISS was inbound but unfortunate it was low to the west and I never saw it. But I did identify the earlier pass as CZ-3, the third stage of a Chinese booster that had lifted satellites into orbit. I used Heavens Above, a site that shows all the current overflights and makes it pretty easy (when you click through the row) to see if what you saw matches the flyby. Starry Night used to do an excellent job marking them but Stellarium, not so well. Unless you can point out the program’s tiny dot moving against the star field, you won’t be able to identify your bird. So Heavens Above it is from now on.

Since the Summer triangle (Deneb, Vega and Aquila) was clear overhead, I ran along the back line and found my favorite formation, the coathanger. Always nice to spot a familiar face in the skies – it will have to do until the Pleiades return (and I’m not desperate enough to get up at 4am to see them, sorry).

Nice to get back into the hobby.