What was trailing ISS tonight??

Hi All,

I have seen the ISS at night hundreds of times now, over the years.
However, on tonights pass (Sun 24th Sept '06) at @23.09 there was TWO crafts visible, both which appeared to be travelling at the same speed. They were both as bright as each other, and a little bit apart.
I know Atlantis was up there recently, but it landed last week...

I have trawled all the Astronomy and ISS sites to try and find out what the second craft was, without success.
Anyone able to enlighten me please??


crimewatch – Sun, 2006 – 09 – 24 18:53

Re: What was trailing ISS tonight??

Maybe it was the NOSS satellite formations. I have seen these at mag 2 or 3 on occasion...


Vince - KB9SJT

Submitted by N9VN on Fri, 2006-10-06 01:04.

who knows

There is a very good change you saw two Iridium satellites.
Via the website 'Heavens-above' you can see wich Iridium is glowing in the nightsky at a certain point. As I like to see them, I have often noticed a second in the same orbit following up very close. As these satellites can be quite bright ( -8 , that's what makes them fun to watch) it's posible you saw two of them close to eachother at magnitude -1 or so.

best regards. Derk PA4CL

Submitted by Derk on Thu, 2006-10-05 16:18.

Solved mystery?

Hello Frank,

Probably you have seen an LEO satellite (there are a lot in the sky).
LEO = Low Earth Satellite (such as the NOAA's wx sats).
I saw it several times close to ISS.
But it does not happen often cause no sats have exactly the same
orbit as ISS.


Submitted by pd0rkc on Thu, 2006-10-05 09:27.


One night of summer 2005 I had my car parked in a very dark place. I do have a convertible and the top was open.
As soon as I entered I noticed something that looked like a pretty bright LEO pass in the sky.
I kept staring at the thing for a few seconds and I noticed that there was another object following the first one just a few degrees after.
I just had the time to consider that the orbit was Northbound and that there were no docking or un-docking operations going on up there when the two things suddently accelerated and disappeared in about 5 seconds.
The acceleration unbelievable. I was so astonished that it took me a while before being able to call a friend on the cellphone, explain what I saw and then start the car to go away.
I feel like a stupid writing about that episode but believe me, that night I did not see a satellite, I did not see an airplane... that night I think I saw a UFO.

Submitted by alain on Thu, 2006-10-05 13:07.

UFO - Awesome objects

You are not alone; one night in 1986 or 1987 I was stargazing at Crown Point above the Columbia River Gorge, and I witnessed the very same phenomenon you describe, in different parts of the sky, several times. Sometimes there would be two objects, rather than one. I was totally blown away by the sudden, unfathomably fast (i.e., apparently instantaneous) acceleration from apparent rest, and also by the fact that on a few occasions, the "satellite(s)" would, during their unbelievable repositioning, change course at sharp angles, without deceleration observable from the Earth. The capper was seeing one of the objects emit a searchlight-like white "beam" a "short" distance, which swept an area around the object covering approximately 120- degrees; it then suddenly and apparently instantaneously moved from one part of the sky to another.

Until seeing the one with the "beam," I assumed that this phenomenon was secondary to nystagmus of the eye muscles. I've womdered ever sionce, what it was I saw, and could presume only that it was some kind of military experiment.

- Kevin H. WA7VTD
Oregon City, OR

Submitted by WA7VTD on Tue, 2006-10-24 04:59.


Hi Alain,

That acceleration thats intresting, we have here F16 fighters and
they often put a bright light on (no flashing lights) when they land.
But I gues you saw it much higher (in space), in that case I have
no clue what it was.

To be honest I never believed in UFO's but I can imagen
that (nature) things happen what can not be explained easely.


Submitted by pd0rkc on Thu, 2006-10-05 17:01.



here we have F16 as well (bought second hand from the USA...) and also the EF-2000...
As you know I have been observing satellites for years and I work in aeronautics.
What I have seen was not a conventional aircraft (too high and too fast), nor a orbiting object.
Maybe they were two debris of the same asteroid reentering earth. Maybe in my particular perspective, given their re-entry trajectory, they looked accelerating so much.
Still I was very very surprised to see what I have seen. They did not look like falling starts, they looked like something escaping earth orbit under unbelievable speed and acceleration.

Submitted by alain on Thu, 2006-10-05 17:08.

What was it?

After further investigation, it appears there was no ISS pass due (or anywhere near) at this time, for this area. Elevation was about 25-30deg, to the west, and travelling from north to south.

Definitely two bright stars following each other accross the sky, identical to an ISS pass.
Anybody any ideas what it actually was that I saw?



Submitted by crimewatch on Sun, 2006-09-24 19:09.

Possibley WX Satellites

Hi Frank, what you saw may have been the NOAA 12 and 15 Polar Orbiting Satellites, they are currently quite close to each other and almost on the same path. Maybe worth checking to see if what you saw corresponded with any passes from these two satellites, as from what you said about them travelling from North to South would make sense if it was indeed them.


Submitted by Prometheus on Tue, 2006-10-10 05:13.

If you can give your

If you can give your location then perhaps we can identify what it was

Submitted by mojoh81 on Wed, 2006-09-27 10:33.

What was trailing ISS tonight

I saw the same object behind the ISS. It was about 5 to 10 seconds behind in the same orbit and mostly visible when the ISS was in the eastern sky. I live in the 92020 zip code and the satellite was visible tonight about 17:25 PST. The SpaceX launch was yesterday and is supposed to dock with ISS tomorrow. What we saw could be the SpaceX satellite trailing the ISS....just a thought.

Submitted by Sundance2148 on Sat, 2017-12-16 23:50.

What was trailing ISS tonight

Sorry, I just realized the original post was from Sept. 2006. Anyway, I saw this tonight, Dec. 16, 2017 from zip 92020 (San Diego, CA). The second object was about 1/3 as bright as the ISS in the eastern sky. Just wondering if anyone saw this.

Submitted by Sundance2148 on Sat, 2017-12-16 23:55.

Object Following ISS

I saw it, too (from San Diego 5:26 p.m. PST), and checked the NASA TV site for info: the Space-X Dragon was launched this morning with cargo, and will be captured by ISS at 1:30 a.m. PST (televised on NASA TV). I believe what we saw was the Dragon maneuvering into place for that capture.

Submitted by Carrie on Sun, 2017-12-17 01:12.

Object Following ISS- Tiangong-2

It is the the Chinese space station TIANGONG-2 which is 7 minutes behind the ISS . Saw both of them last evening during the evening pass over Bangalore, India


Submitted by vu3tyg on Thu, 2017-12-21 06:40.

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