Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last observations of the year, and 2009 at a glance

December 2009 saw a lot of clouded sky, a few clear frosty skies, and lots of snow (for our country at least). After my December 6th observations (see previous post) I observed on December 13th (under modest conditions) and December 28th (under good conditions).

Targets imaged were the HEO objects USA 179 (04-034A), USA 184 (06-027A) and USA 198 (07-060A), and the STSS Demo objects (09-052A & B); and the LEO objects Lacrosse 2 (91-017A) and Lacrosse 5 (05-016A).

These are probably my last observations for this year, as today is overcast and tonight will see fireworks. So, what did 2009 bring on the observational front?

2009 was a good year. I observed on 77 nights, obtaining a total of 953 positions (8 visually, 945 photographically). They were spread over the year as follows:

These observations concern 32 different classified objects (both payloads and rocket boosters), plus a number of special-interest non-classified objects such as Space Shuttles, GOCE, and the Iridium 33 wreckage:

click image to enlarge list

Just for fun, I have also plotted all obtained positions on an RA/Declination map:

click image to enlarge

The clustering in certain positions is because I tend to select sky areas with easily recognizable bright star patterns. This helps easy aiming of the camrea, and it also speedens initial star identifications during the astrometric reduction of the images.

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