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 Post subject: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:47 pm 
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Rocket Lab unveils ‘Humanity Star’ – a shiny satellite you can see in space

https://www.geekwire.com/2018/rocket-la ... see-space/

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Rocket Lab says Humanity Star, a geodesic sphere made of carbon fiber with 65 reflective panels, could well rank as the brightest satellite in the night sky.


This site, when it's working, supposedly enables people to observe this manmade object.

http://www.thehumanitystar.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:41 am 
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Direct link to tracker:

http://www.thehumanitystar.com/#tracker

It's working now

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:39 am 
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Although it might be mildly interesting to see how this small disco ball looks compared to the many satellites currently in orbit, including the already-bright ISS and the predictable and sometimes very bright specular reflections from Iridium flares (and some other, more random satellite flares), this "Humanity Star" seems to be rather pretentious in the concept that somehow, a significant percentage of the population will look at it, thus bring humanity together.

In any case, the linked finder at the promoter's web site isn't really much of a planning aid. Just go to the tried-and-true satellite tracker, Heavens-Above, where it's now listed. As of this writing, there are no visible passes for my NJ location through February 4, 2018. If you click the "all" button, there are a number of daylight and unlit night passes in the next week and a half.

The altitude parameters at H-A also show why it won't be in orbit too long. It now has a perigee of 292 km (181 miles) and an apogee of 521 km (324 miles). The ISS orbit is currently 402 x 407 km (250 x 253 miles), and it needs to be re-boosted on a regular basis to remain in orbit.

I was less successful at Cal-Sky, not finding anything by searching for Humanity, but C-S can often be inscrutable. Looking at objects launched in 2018, I did find several with orbits around 290 x 525 km, but they were described only as Object A, Object B and Object Debris, so I didn't pursue them further.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:58 pm 
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JoeStieber wrote:
Just go to the tried-and-true satellite tracker, Heavens-Above, where it's now listed.


Oh yes, thank you Joe!

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:46 am 
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'Space graffiti': astronomers angry over launch of fake star into sky

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... r-into-sky

Quote:
Giant disco ball dubbed ‘Humanity Star’, launched by startup Rocket Lab, will interfere with scientific study of the universe, experts say


I believe the kerfuffle behind Humanity's Star is a tempest in a teapot. The object's going to be in space for nine months. It'll be visible for a few minutes at a time, at dawn/dusk, and no more distracting than the ISS or Iridium flares.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:58 pm 
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Why Astronomers Complaining About Humanity's Star Will Complain About Anything

https://www.dailygrail.com/2018/01/why- ... -anything/

Written by yours truly.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:36 pm 
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Someone on Twitter, @UFOvet, told me about a series of missions between 1999 and 2003 called STARSHINE.

I included it as an update in my article:

https://www.dailygrail.com/2018/01/why- ... -anything/

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:40 pm 
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I wonder if the complaining scientifists, perhaps subconsciously, are using this as opportunity to tell us how important scientific research is to humanity. In a way, they might be blowing their own horn. They should not be the only judges here. Some people, like nature lovers of the nighttime sky, might not like the light caused by orbiting scientific space labs and instruments.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:46 am 
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doctorcos wrote:
They should not be the only judges here. Some people, like nature lovers of the nighttime sky, might not like the light caused by orbiting scientific space labs and instruments.


Satellite flares are minor and hard to see for people who aren't constantly gazing skyward. Even in those moments, there is a sense of awe rather than "aw".

But in your defense, and a weak defense of Scharf and Brown, is this a slippery slope?

On the gripping hand, maybe Scharf and Brown are pooh-pooh'ing Humanity Star to raise its signal in the news. Nobody likes good news, but they're all over bad news and complaints like flies on poop.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:31 pm 
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Quote:
Humanity Star: Bright Idea or Dark Sky Nemesis?
By: Bob King | January 31, 2018

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/humanity-star/

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:46 pm 
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An excellent article. If you're a worry wart, though, you might not want to read it; it brings up a credible and disturbing "slippery slope" possibility.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:48 pm 
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I had my first opportunity for a sighting of the “Humanity Star” on Friday evening, 09-March-2018, about 20 minutes before the end of astronomical twilight. I went to my slightly less suburban site in Moorestown, NJ, and surprisingly, the weather was ideal such that Venus and Mercury were a stunning and lovely sight to unaided eyes after sunset. Heavens-Above, SkySafari and Cal-Sky all showed a path that would come close to Sirius, Procyon and Pollux in the 7:12 to 7:13 pm EST range, so I had some reference points to watch.

However, it was difficult to find the HS. The ordinary satellite track was not visible to unaided eyes, although it was ultimately seen with 10×50 binoculars (magnitude 6 or so?). I first spotted it near Sirius about 7:12 pm as isolated blinks (perhaps about magnitude 2) that occurred at half to two-second intervals. I finally got the binoculars on it near Pollux about 7:13 pm. It was unlike any satellite I’ve seen before. In particular, the light variation was not like an Iridium flare or a tumbling satellite. It literally blinked with no sloping rise or decay in brightness.

On the whole, it was somewhat underwhelming, and if this was a typical pass, not much of a threat from the light pollution aspect. In fact, I don’t think a casual observer would see it without a good bit of luck, and if they did, probably would think it was a distant aircraft. That’s why it was necessary to see it with binoculars, to make sure it wasn’t an airplane.

I was back out for another look on Saturday evening, March 10, for a stab at the HS pass that would peak at 7:31 pm EST. However, I was at home (closer to Philadelphia), it would only peak at half the altitude it did on Friday (roughly 30 vs. 60 deg) and the transparency didn’t seem as good. I had the track envisioned: it would pass near Menkar, Hamal & Sheratan and Mirach, and I watched with unaided eyes and 7x42 binoculars (with an 8 deg field). Alas, I saw nothing.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:02 am 
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For Tuesday evening, March 13, 2018, Heavens-Above shows a high pass for the Humanity Star as viewed from Toms River (EDT)...

19:41:33 10° S
19:43:49 86° W
19:46:08 10° N

Magnitude 4.1

I'm not sure what H-A's magnitude value means for this blinker, but a pass near the zenith should mean that HS is near it's maximum brightness, especially since it's 271 km distance at the peak is near the 264 km perigee.

The weather, judging from the current Lakehurst Clear Sky Chart, looks iffy -- but worth keeping an eye on.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:22 am 
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On Tuesday evening, March 13, I did attempt to spot the Humanity Star satellite again. I went out to my back yard under very clear skies, and although it was only the middle of twilight so the sky was still somewhat blue, many stars were visible. In particular, second magnitude stars Saiph (bottom-left corner of Orion) and Polaris were easily visible with unaided eyes.

Nevertheless, using my unaided eyes and 7x42 binoculars, I didn't see a hint of the HS along the predicted path during the predicted time, even though it was a high pass. Alas, in double-checking the details now as I write this, I realize I was looking 10° too far to the west, which might be a reason why it wasn't sighted. I had the chart for the Toms River area in my mind rather than the chart for 40°N-75°W, which is close to my home. Oh well.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:18 am 
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What I learned after the last ASTRA meeting was the ephemerides for Humanity Star are constantly changing.

Heavens Above's site didn't jibe with the Heavens Above app. And Humanity Star's website appeared to be contrary to the former two.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:05 am 
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Chris,

Perhaps you didn’t receive all of my off-board e-mail replies on this subject.

As I pointed out, the pass times for the Humanity-Star on March 9 as listed in the March 2018 ASTRA Newsletter were wrong, roughly half-hour before the actual time. You replied that you used info from the end of January for the early March pass. I then replied that satellite orbits do drift, so recent elements are needed, i.e., January was too long ago to use for a reliable early March satellite prediction, especially with the HM which is only expected to be in orbit for 6 months due to atmospheric drag.

As it turns out, Heavens-Above was spot-on for the March 9 pass that I was able to see (when using predictions gathered on the day of the pass — H-A does use constantly updated elements). The screen shots you sent me off-board showed your correct location on the smartphone app (probably based on the internal GPS or whatever it uses to find location). On the other hand, the H-A web site clip showed a location of 0 deg latitude, 0 deg longitude — the default value which is off the coast of Africa. Evidently, you didn’t set up your actual location with the online service. That’s why they didn’t agree. Which one did you use for the March pass looked up in January?

Anyway, the reason I missed the pass on March 10 was most likely due to the HS being at a lower altitude in less-transparent and more light polluted skies. On March 13, I probably missed it because it was still during moderately bright twilight and I wasn’t looking in quite the right place. In both cases, it was likely my “fault,” not H-A’s. It does indicate that the HS isn’t an object the masses can gaze upon in wonder, or be a significant source of “light pollution.”

Finally, I’ve been using H-A for nearly two decades and it has demonstrated good reliability over that time span. I’ve paid almost no attention to the HS web site, so I can’t comment on their accuracy. But I have looked at Cal-Sky and SkySafari, and they’ve been in good agreement with H-A regarding the recent HS passes.

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:57 pm 
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JoeStieber wrote:
... especially with the HM which is only expected to be in orbit for 6 months due to atmospheric drag.

Is there a way to edit posts? Since I don’t know of any, I just wanted to point out that I erroneously used “HM” as an abbreviation for Humanity Star. It should have been “HS.”

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 Post subject: Re: Humanity Star
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:22 pm 
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Rocket Lab’s disco ball satellite has plunged back to Earth — and some aren’t sad to see it go

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/22/1714 ... -astronomy

Bringing us to Joe's mention of satellite orbit instability. Esp. with Humanity Star being so close to Earth and having to manage atmospheric drag.

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