Author Topic: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?  (Read 2920 times)

Offline Gustav

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Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« on: 07/21/2011 12:30 AM »
Do you guys know of any satellite that looked similar to Sputnik 3 but was still flying in the early 80's?

I have an incredible story that happened to me back then... I was watching an almost full moon low on the horizon with my telescope with a magnification of 150x if I remember correctly when a truncated coned shaped with two "handles" silhouette passed between the moon and my narrowed field telescope! If I had blinked I wouldn't have seen it!

The shape was crisp, I remember it very well after all this years. I was very excited about it back then. The shape was familiar to me but I couldn't find where I saw it...

Yesterday I open a book about Russian spaceflight and there was a picture of Sputnik 3 the exact coned shape I saw 30 years ago through my telescope, the memory of that event came back directly to me. I saw a satellite similar to Sputnik 3 but it can't be it as it burned in the atmosphere in 1960 or can it be it?

How could I've seen such a small object that distant that crisply? What are the chances that such a thing occurs? Pretty slim I guess... I know it seem unbelievable but I'd swear upon my life i saw it!

What do you guys think about that?

Offline Phillip Clark

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Re: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« Reply #1 on: 07/21/2011 07:11 AM »
Is there any chance of you giving a date and ideally a time of the observation, along with your location at the time?   Then it might be possible to track down what you saw.

If you are aware of the SEESAT mailing list - which is specifically for satellite observers - then you might like to post on there and see what reply you get.
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Offline gwiz

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Re: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« Reply #2 on: 07/21/2011 11:23 AM »
What do you guys think about that?
Russian Yantar reconnaissance satellite?
http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/mwade/graphics/y/yan2kcut.jpg

Offline Phillip Clark

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Re: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« Reply #3 on: 07/21/2011 02:18 PM »
What do you guys think about that?
Russian Yantar reconnaissance satellite?
http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/mwade/graphics/y/yan2kcut.jpg

If it was a Yantar - and presumably you mean the close-look series or possibly the digital data return series, rather than the topographic and mapping series - then one would have expected the pair of solar panels to have been seen as well.

This is why more details of when and where the observation took place are needed - then we can see what was in orbit at the time.
I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane - WJ.

Offline Gustav

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Re: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« Reply #4 on: 07/21/2011 03:57 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys.

It might have been a Yantar but i'd swear it had 2 "handles" similar to Sputnik 3.

It's not easy to remember the exact date, it was in winter that's for sure and the time was approx. 8 PM or maybe 9 PM... Location is easy:
Latitude 50 43' N
Longitude 4 33' E

I suppose it's not enough but that's all i can remember right now, i have to dig my old memory to find out more. :)

Online Orbiter

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Re: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« Reply #5 on: 07/21/2011 04:05 PM »
100% guarantee it was not sputnik 3.

Sputnik 3 burned up in the atmosphere in April 1960.

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Offline Downix

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Re: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« Reply #6 on: 07/21/2011 04:32 PM »
Could have been a spysat, a few of them I know had similar layouts.
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Offline Danderman

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Re: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« Reply #7 on: 04/23/2014 03:41 AM »
Do you guys know of any satellite that looked similar to Sputnik 3 but was still flying in the early 80's?

I have an incredible story that happened to me back then... I was watching an almost full moon low on the horizon with my telescope with a magnification of 150x if I remember correctly when a truncated coned shaped with two "handles" silhouette passed between the moon and my narrowed field telescope! If I had blinked I wouldn't have seen it!


The Sputnik 3 handles were not very large. To be able to see them from a mile away would be good. To see them from > 1,000 kilometers away (the Moon was low on the horizon) would be amazing, even with a telescope.

As for the satellite passing in front of the Moon,  the period of time that the satellite would be eclipsing the Moon would be incredibly short, probably just a flash.

In short, I would look for something closer than an orbiting satellite to account for this.


« Last Edit: 04/23/2014 03:43 AM by Danderman »

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Spotting Sputnik 3 orbiting in the 80's?
« Reply #8 on: 04/23/2014 07:03 AM »
To the OP - Are you 100% sure that it wasn't a high flying aircraft of an unusual type (or from an unusual angle) that flew in front of your telescope?

You say you remember it clearly - can you draw a picture and attach it?
« Last Edit: 04/23/2014 07:04 AM by Lars_J »

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