Ever have a Satellite pass infront of your Telescope? Q?

I was just wondering. I have a 10 inch Dobsonian (homemade) and the other night whilst looking at the darkside of the moon, something very briefly passed infront of the scope. I am not saying it was a satellite, but it is certainly unexplained. No it wasn’t my wifes hand either. And it was a brilliantly clear night out, and it was not a plane. Could it have been a satellite?
Anyone else have a similar experience?

Sure. I’ve seen (and tracked) satellites using binoculars. Some satellites rotate and can appear to “blink” on and off, others remain steady.

My scope is BIG!! and the resolution is very good, this object was not in focus either. Obviously becuase I was focused on the moon…I wish I could track them, I never really thought it could be done. Can you see everything on them? Camera’s, lens, solar paneling etc…etc…-whatever else you’d find on one?

I don’t think you could see much in the way of detail on them. At least not the ones in low orbit. In order to see anything like that, you’d have to have really high magnification, but the field of view would be so small you couldn’t keep it in view for very long, if at all. Those things move fast! you might be able to make out the general shape though. I’ve never really tried.

You saw it moving? Then my guess is satellite too.

If, instead, you saw a brief flash, then it’s possible you saw the result of a meteor striking the dark side of the moon.

??? Phlosphr, how were you looking at the dark side of the moon? The dark side of the moon is, by defintion, not facing the earth.

I’ve seen many satellites through telescopes, and they look just like moving stars. If you are focused on an astronomical object (including the moon) you should see it as a focused point of light. If it wasn’t focused then it was probably something else, but I can’t tell from your description. How bright, how large and how fast was the object?

You can’t resolve any features on a satellite with amateur telescopes. Your telescope might have enough resolution to make out the solar panels on the ISS, but at that magnification you won’t be able to track the ISS without a computerized mount. This page shows some photos of satellites taken with such computerized telescopes.

Got a look at satellite through a 16" scope pointed at the Ring nebula. It showed up as a fast moving point. It was probably one of those spy satellites in near polar orbit. Tracked by eyeball for a minute or two after it passed from the scope’s field.

No. The dark side of the moon is the side not illuminated by sunlight. Look at a half moon sometime. You can clearly see that half is being lit up by the sun, and the other half is not. You’re thinking of the far side of the moon, the side that always faces away from Earth.

Adam - au contraire, when the moon is half or 3/4 you can look at the line that deliniates light from dark on the moon. that line has probably 200 miles or so of dark gray area on the serface of the moon, where you can see shadows and shapes and such. My scope has wonderful resolution and craters and mountains, valleys etc…etc… show up quite nicely…

Okay, that makes sense. I had always heard of the dark side of the moon in context of being the far side of the moon. I didn’t realize it related to the parts you couldn’t see during the waxing and waning.

What I like so much about looking at the dark side of the moon, is that the shadow you are seeing on the moon is the earth itself… The big peice of mud you are standing on… When you step aside and really think about the shadow of the earth on our moon, it is very humbling, at least to me. Makes one really think how truly small we are

You mean a lunar eclipse? That’s the only time the earth casts a shadow on the moon.

Well, at lunar eclipses you can se the shadow of the Earth. Not at other times.

Excuse me? When you look at that crescent shaped moon, what is causing the large circular shadow on it, making it look crescent shaped? Is that not the shadow of the earth on the surface of the sun?

Ahem…Moon I mean… :smack:

why oh why didn’t I preview

Your seeing the non-illuminated part of the moon, thats all.

Lest the magic be completely taken away, Phlosphr, I believe that you can still see dimly reflected Earth light on the dark side of the moon–that’s why it still shows up relatively clearly.

Or is somebody going to shoot this idea down as well?

And I know that Earth light is reflected sunlight–I just think it’s kind of neat that the light bounces from the Earth to the Moon and back again.

the non-illuminated part of the moon? It’s not the shadow of the earth on the surface of the moon. Good God, and for all those years…I thought…Damn!!!