Identifying satellites

JesseCuster

Active Member
Is there a website where you can put in your co-ordinates, specify a date and time, and see a map of the sky and where various satellites were?

I found this website via Google: https://in-the-sky.org/satmap.php - which looks like what I'm after, but when I change the date and time to the what I want, it just shows me blank maps and blank skies with no satellites.

Not sure if this is the right forum to ask the question, please move to correct forum if necessary.
 

JesseCuster

Active Member
Cheers! I'll try it out. I actually have Stellarium installed on this computer, looked for an option to view satellite paths and locations and couldn't find anything. I didn't know there was plug-ins available

I'll check it out now. Thanks.
 

Chew

Senior Member.
Stellarium is the least intuitive of the planetarium programs. You need to click on the icon that looks like a film strip to turn on satellites.
 

JesseCuster

Active Member
Got it figured out. The reason I'm asking is that someone has claimed to have filmed UFOs passing by the Pleiades filmed from Northern Ireland (Greyabbey in Co. Down) and says they checked it out and they're not satellites.

Here's the YouTube video in question if anyone wants to have a look and see if they can add some insight. I've identified a couple of satellites that when I set the co-ordinates and time to that location look like they might have passed by with similar trajectories about a half hour previous which made me wonder if the camera's clock setting was wrong, but I can't positively identify the rest of the supposed UFOs.

YouTube video here (it's about 3 minutes of video footage of the supposed UFOs in question):

 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Stellarium is the least intuitive of the planetarium programs.

...perhaps...but, it's free!! And once downloaded, runs independently from any need for an Internet connection.

I have spent time on Mars, watching Deimos and Phobos orbit overhead....I've also gone to the Moon on 20 July, 1969....at "Tranquility".
 

Astro

Senior Member
Here's a more quantitative and professional solution:
http://www.satobs.org/orbsoft.html
IDSat is what you want. If you know the observer's location and the exact observing time (appears to be known in this case) you can combine it with the observed coordinates to accurately determine the satellite's ID by comparing against all known satellite orbits. All unclassified satellite orbital elements can be downloaded from Space-track.org and classified satellite orbits can be downloaded from this amateur source:
https://www.prismnet.com/~mmccants/tles/
Exact coordinates of the satellite can be determined using astrometry.net, especially useful if the star field is less recognizable than the above example, but otherwise the above is a perfect example of images that are easily solved by astrometry (plenty of stars visible in the video containing the satellite). Server appears to be down right now (which is why I run their software locally on my personal desktop as well, always goes down when it's most needed for a quick debunking):
http://nova.astrometry.net/
I don't have time right now to run through the above example and find the ID but if you need assistance I might be able to provide it tomorrow.
 

Astro

Senior Member
Here's the astrometrically solved version of a frame from the first satellite from that video:
http://nova.astrometry.net/user_images/581023#original
By my measurement the satellite's coordinates are 03h 43m 01.212s, +25d 15' 36.69" at the time stamp showing 19:48:25 (which I believe should be GMT).

Of course this measurement contains more precision than is really there due to the limiting resolution of the video, but in general we can look for anything within about a degree of that position at that time. I'll run it through IDSat when I get the chance. I can't run IDSat on this computer, it doesn't appear to be compatible with the 64 bit version of Windows 7 (yeah, it's 16 bit software, very old school, sorry).
 
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JRBids

Senior Member.
I've spent many nights looking at the stars and those (in the video) look like satellites to me. Unless I was seeing UFOs. Hmmmmmmm.
 

Astro

Senior Member
Ok, change of suggestions, I found a 32 bit program which will actually run on 32 bit and 64 bit operating systems (thank heavens).
https://www.prismnet.com/~mmccants/programs/
Findsat is what you want. It's all command line but very effective. You can specify the search radius in degrees and timing in seconds. I found a match on that first object that I did the astrometry for above. The match is within 0.2 degrees of the detected position and 61 seconds in timing. Exact timing and position is of course dependent on exact location, I just used the wikipedia listed coordinates for the town she mentioned at the start of the video. Also the orbital elements are from a couple days after the observation so orbital decay will create timing differences too. The match was for Breeze-M Deb, Norad number 39599. I wouldn't expect small orbital debris to be visible by eye so this agrees with her statement that none of it was visible by eye. You can do the same with all the other satellites shown in her video I'm sure. I'm tempted to take a crack at some more of them simply cause I find it fun.
 

Astro

Senior Member
Second object appears to be Midas 4 Debris Norad # 2009

Third and fourth objects are within about a minute of each other, three possible satellites fit that time frame and location, Thor Ablestar Norad # 3810, Cosmos 2093 Norad # 20738, and Fengyun 1C Debris Norad #36231. I'd have to look at the apparent direction of travel to distinguish which is which but based on timing I'd suspect Fengyun 1C is the fourth object.

Fifth object is likely Fengyun 1C Debris Norad #30374

Sixth object is likely Fengyun 1C Debris Norad #37686

Seeing a pattern? Yeah, a lot of this stuff is part of the debris cloud from the Chinese anti-satellite missile test.

Seventh and eighth objects are again close together both in timing and location, one is OPS 4682 debris Norad #18967 (likely the seventh) and the other is likely to be SL-8 debris Norad # 39692 (likely the eighth based on timing and predicted order of appearance).

The ninth object is likely yet another Fengyun 1C debris, this one Norad #29828, but could also potentially be a Delta 1 rocket booster, Norad #3767

The final object matches with several possibilities, most closely with an Atlas Agena Norad #630, but also roughly with a globalstar satellite, more Fengyun Debris, or one of two OPS 4682 debris pieces.

I didn't bother doing astrometry for all these additional satellites; since they're all centered around the Pleiades I just used the first satellite's coordinates as a reference point for finding the others within a few degrees of the first one. That's why these additional finds are somewhat approximate, but if someone wants to invest the time to do the astrometry on each with precision knock yourself out lol.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
...perhaps...but, it's free!! And once downloaded, runs independently from any need for an Internet connection.

I have spent time on Mars, watching Deimos and Phobos orbit overhead....I've also gone to the Moon on 20 July, 1969....at "Tranquility".
does that mean you got to see whether they actually landed or not? :D
 

JesseCuster

Active Member
Second object appears to be Midas 4 Debris Norad # 2009

Third and fourth objects are within about a minute of each other, three possible satellites fit that time frame and location, Thor Ablestar Norad # 3810, Cosmos 2093 Norad # 20738, and Fengyun 1C Debris Norad #36231. I'd have to look at the apparent direction of travel to distinguish which is which but based on timing I'd suspect Fengyun 1C is the fourth object.

Fifth object is likely Fengyun 1C Debris Norad #30374

Sixth object is likely Fengyun 1C Debris Norad #37686

Seeing a pattern? Yeah, a lot of this stuff is part of the debris cloud from the Chinese anti-satellite missile test.

Seventh and eighth objects are again close together both in timing and location, one is OPS 4682 debris Norad #18967 (likely the seventh) and the other is likely to be SL-8 debris Norad # 39692 (likely the eighth based on timing and predicted order of appearance).

The ninth object is likely yet another Fengyun 1C debris, this one Norad #29828, but could also potentially be a Delta 1 rocket booster, Norad #3767

The final object matches with several possibilities, most closely with an Atlas Agena Norad #630, but also roughly with a globalstar satellite, more Fengyun Debris, or one of two OPS 4682 debris pieces.

I didn't bother doing astrometry for all these additional satellites; since they're all centered around the Pleiades I just used the first satellite's coordinates as a reference point for finding the others within a few degrees of the first one. That's why these additional finds are somewhat approximate, but if someone wants to invest the time to do the astrometry on each with precision knock yourself out lol.
Wow. Great work. Thanks for the information. These forums are an education in all sorts of how-to when it comes to researching all sorts of weird and wonderful things online.
 

Astro

Senior Member
I see she's still posting videos and claiming she used all satellite identification tools at her disposal, failing to find IDs. Now she is lying. I gave her findsat. Findsat finds ID's on her satellites. On her latest video, a recording from March 2nd, the first satellite seen is Cosmos 2441, the second one is actually the defunct IRAS satellite. The third is SL-8 R/B norad ID# 12682. These are all exact matches, I did the astrometry for each and they all match within 1 second of their predicted times. Here are the astrometrically solved fits file version of her images, with WCS embedded coordinates:
http://dropcanvas.com/tc4gn
I stopped checking at that point in disgust.
 

Astro

Senior Member
I see she's still posting videos and claiming she used all satellite identification tools at her disposal, failing to find IDs. Now she is lying. I gave her findsat. Findsat finds ID's on her satellites. On her latest video, a recording from March 2nd, the first satellite seen is Cosmos 2441, the second one is actually the defunct IRAS satellite. The third is SL-8 R/B norad ID# 12682. These are all exact matches, I did the astrometry for each and they all match within 1 second of their predicted times. Here are the astrometrically solved fits file version of her images, with WCS embedded coordinates:
http://dropcanvas.com/tc4gn
I stopped checking at that point in disgust.
I guess I need to take back the part about lying. Apparently she only stretched the truth by stating "unable to find these on any satellite tools." What she failed to mention is that she apparently couldn't or didn't run the tool I gave her earlier, and never mentioned to me that she was having trouble with it, let alone ask for help. So she should have included the qualifier that she was unable to find them on any satellite tools... but that there were other tools she was unable to check against. That wouldn't sound nearly so exciting though, would it? So because I feel bad about calling her a liar, I went ahead and did her work for her once again and identified all the satellites in her video. Here is a complete list of all objects seen in this video ( ) in order of appearance. First one is Cosmos 2441, second one is IRAS, third one is an SL-8 R/B, norad# 12682, fourth one is Cosmos 1140, fifth is IGS 5 r Norad # 36105, sixth is Cosmos 2406, seventh is SL-8 Deb Norad # 1392, eighth is SL-14 R/B Noard # 12849 and ninth is Cosmos 729, finally the 10th is Cosmos 158. Here is an astrometrically solved image of each satellite from the video:
http://dropcanvas.com/tc4gn
Plugging that into findsat yields those ID's under the current TLE set.
 
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