Monday 9 November 2009

USA 179 and 184

After a month-long absence due to amongst other a hollidays in Canada, I was able to do some observations again last Saturday evening. It was very clear (and rather cold).

Due to a social activity earlier in the evening I had missed the LEO window (which is very short this time of the year at 52 degrees latitude), so I popped the EF 100/2.8 Macro USM on the camera and targetted two Molniya objects high in the sky: USA 179 (2004-034A) and USA 184 (06-027A). The first is an SDS-3 communications satellite, the second an advanced Trumpet SIGINT and SBIRS platform.

Both objects showed up brightly on the images, USA 184 nearly stellar and USA 179 creating clear short trails. Here's a part of one of the USA 179 (2004-034A) images, a small field in Cassiopeia:

click image to enlarge

I obtained the launch patches of these two objects recently.

USA 179:

USA 184:

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