I was bored this early evening so was looking on the fantastic Heavens Above Website to see what else is interesting to see apart from the old Iridum Flares. They also show all the over flying satellites which don't flare as such but are just very visible. I remember when I was young seeing these slow moving stars in the skys and having many discussion about what they were.
I think we decided they were comets.
So I picked an easy one to spot. Cosmos 1544 as it was bright with a magnitude of -'4.4'. For the un-nerdy out there.
Examples of magnitude values for well-known objects are;
Sun -26.7 (about 400 000 times brighter than full Moon!)
Full Moon -12.7
Brightest Iridium flares -8
Venus (at brightest) -4.4
International Space Station -2
Sirius (brightest star) -1.44
Limit of human eye +6 to +7
Limit of 10x50 binoculars +9
Limit of Hubble Space Telescope +30
Satellite Mag Time Alt Dir Peak Alt Dir Leaves Alt Dir
Cosmos 1544 Rocket 4.4 18:46:22 10° S 18:50:43 56° E 18:51:12 52° ENE
The Sky chart said it would be passing right by the moon which we can clearly see from the back garden at the moment so thought it would be an easy one to choose. And right on queue Mr Cosmos 1544 turned up.
Cosmos 1544 was launched into orbit on March 15th 1984 by Tsylkon 3 from the : Plesetsk launch site in Russia. It takes 96.80 mins to circumnavigate the globe.
Plesetsk Launch Site Russia.