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Discussion: starlink-5 group pass tonight at 9:50 PM PDT

in: biggins; biggins > 2020-04-29

May 2, 2020 3:08 AM # 
Here's the sky chart for the leader. They'll rise just north of Venus and go into shadow before reaching zenith. There are over 40 sats in this group, ~30s apart. I just saw this pass from Baltimore and it was plenty bright enough. Having looked for this group twice before and not seen it, it was nice to finally do so. They were about the same brightness as Polaris...maybe a little fainter.

I took 3 10-min exps. That was a bad idea with the bright sky here. Plenty of dynamic range before sat at gain 100, stop wide open, but the poisson noise from the sky integrated for 10 mins washed out the tracks. The moon is pretty bright. If your sky is dark enough you could get away with long exps, but if not, short exps "movie style" is better. Bigger aperture would also help.

There will be a good pass of this same group over Moncton tomorrow night (Sat). Looks like the weather might be good. I'll put together some info and post it here.
May 2, 2020 4:28 AM # 
Yeah, I'm not going to make it to 9:50! Calling it a day now. But I'll let my dad know the Moncton info if you have time to figure it out. He doesn't go to bed early! Thanks!
May 2, 2020 6:12 AM # 
Here's a basic webpage with links to the heavens-above predicts for the current group leader satellites for Moncton. The leaders here should be good for a couple of weeks. I'll try to remember to keep them updated.

There are actually two good group passes for Moncton tonight (Sat, May 2). One is the starlink-5 "white" group that we saw here tonight. That one will start at 9:48 PM ADT and last about 20 mins with 30s between sats, approaching from the NW. 20 minutes after that one ends, the starlink-3 "gold" group will pass almost directly overhead from the SW starting at 10:28 PM ADT. The widely-spaced starlink-0 "red" group will also be going by at the same time on a crossing track, so keep an eye out for those.

Here are snapshots of the ground tracks near the start of the passes:

Both of these passes should be visible from all of New England. The gold group pass will also be very good for the mid-atlantic states. You guys should be able to see it in Truckee 3 hrs after us.
May 2, 2020 3:27 PM # 
Thanks will check it out tonight
May 2, 2020 6:54 PM # 
Here's a 1-hr animation of tonight's passes for Moncton. Note white, red and gold group overpasses. ~80 satellites in less than an hour from just these three groups. Should be an interesting show. Hope its clear up there.

May 3, 2020 1:41 AM # 
Hmmm, moon is very bright tonight, afterglow in west still was present for awhile, some city light pollution and eastern half of sky cloudy = didn’t see any this try.
Working this weekend so can’t stay up much later. Another night. 1 hour animation was neat thanks
May 3, 2020 5:29 AM # 
Rats. The sky was mucky and bright here too. I watched for the gold group pass but they were mostly invisible. Could only see the last sat in the group, which was very bright. Here's a 10s photo from the sequence. No sats visible in the other 26 exposures I took.

A pattern is beginning to emerge. Passes coming from the NW have been visible, but all evening passes from the SW (even from the same groups) have been invisible. I did see an early morning pass of the orange group from the SW. This must be related to the sun angle and the orientation of the sats. It'll be interesting to see how this behavior changes as the sun moves north.

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