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Orange Moon 4

Mary and I had just emerged from the post office around 8:50 PM when I saw this orange moon, about 14 hours past full, rising above the trees. This is a 1"6-second exposure at f/8. Behind us, Jupiter was up, followed by Scorpius and Sagittarius.


About 40 minutes later we spotted an artificial satellite about to glide above Sagittarius, headed roughly east. According to Heavens Above, this was the Atlas Centaur 2 rocket, launched on November 27, 1963. This Centaur-D upper stage was the first liquid hydrogen fueled rocket to successfully reach orbit.


The satellite was about the same apparent magnitude as a star in Scorpius named Girtab (Sumerian for "scorpion"), which has a magnitude of 1.9 according to our National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Night Sky. That would mean we saw the Atlas Centaur 2 at close to its maximum brightness of magnitude 1.6.


From "The Full Sturgeon Moon, when this large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain is most readily caught. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because the moon rises looking reddish through sultry haze, or the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon."

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Uploaded on August 10, 2006