Sudbury Observing

From August 1 until August 20, I will be observing the night sky in Sudbury, Ontario. There, I hope to be able to do more astronomy and see more celestial object there.

On Friday, August 1, 2014, late at night, it was a clear night in Sudbury, and I decided to take my scope out that night. In Sudbury, the sky was much clearer than at my house. It was much clearer than the sky back home. For the first part of the session, my dad was with me.

While we were beginning to set up our telescope, we saw an artificial satellite high in the sky at 11 pm. It was bright enough that it looks like one of the stars. Probably at magnitude 2-3. It was moving from the Southwest towards the North. I couldn’t figure out what the satellite is, but I do know it is not the ISS. After researching the night sky on a program called, Starry Nights, I suspect it is a satellite called, Cosmos 1536, but I can’t be sure. Cosmos 1536 is a Soviet satellite that was put into orbit in February 8, 1984. It’s perigee is 557.8 km and its apogee is 576.0 km. It takes 95.9 minutes for the satellite to make one orbit. It was used as an ELINT (Electronic and Signals Intelligence) satellite to intercept signals that are not commonly used for communication.

Starry Nights

The night sky at 11 PM EDT simulated by Starry Nights ™. Ecliptic is displayed in green dashed line. Cosmos 1536’s path in the night sky is the blue line.

After it disappeared in the night sky, we decided to continue setting up the telescope. Once it was set up and aligned, we pointed it to Saturn. It was beautiful as always, with its rings shining prominently. As we looked at Saturn, my dad decided to call it a night. He went inside to sleep, as he had an early morning that night.

I then continued to look for other celestial objects to look at. Since I was in darker skies, I decided to look for Deep Sky Objects (DSO’s). However, that didn’t work out as I was not able to see any DSO’s. I tried to look for M51, Cassiopeia A, and other objects, but that didn’t work out. Looking at a light pollution chart a few days later, I realized that Sudbury’s level of light pollution blocks out most of the DSO’s in the night sky which was disappointing.

After realizing that there are no DSO’s that I could see, I decided to call it a night. That night was quite successful. I saw an artificial satellite that was not the ISS, and I saw Saturn. It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to see any DSO’s. Hopefully I can find them another time. Happy Observing!


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