|Occurred : 8/3/2002 22:15 (Entered as : 08/03/02 22:15)
Reported: 8/4/2002 7:54:54 AM 07:54
Location: Papillion, NE
|Observed unusually bright object moving in conventional orbital pattern but not listed in online satellite resource.
Saturday night, August 3rd, I decided to go outside into my backyard and do a little star gazing and see if I could see any satellites passing overhead. My 'window' of observation is rather confined because of large trees in the yard. The back of the house also blocks views to the west, as well. In addition, clouds were just moving in from the northwest and beginning to obscure the sky.
I did, however, have a good clear view of the sky immediately overhead with Vega shining brightly. I decided to grab my binoculars and folding cot and enjoy the night air for a few minutes.
I had just laid down and gotten comfortable when I noticed a 'star' of nearly the same magnitude as Vega and just to the southwest of it. However, this star was moving. I quickly put the 10x50 binoculars on it, but it still remained just a single bright point of light. It was moving on roughly a south to north track at about the same speed most satellites move, but the unusual brightness suggested to me that this wasn't a conventional satellite. I've observed the International Space Station pass overhead and it was comparable in brightness.
As I watched the object move further north, it faded out as it moved behind the thickening cloud cover. I quickly took note of the time and went online to www.heavens-above.com, a web site that provides orbital observation information on hundreds of space objects from the ISS to Russian space junk. I found no objects that coincided with the time, magnitude [brightness] and track of this object that would have been visible from my location.
Whatever the object was, it was unusually bright for a satellite though it certainly exhibited most of the other characteristics of a conventional satellite.