Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Another clear evening, thank goodness

I was starting to get a little bit of satellite spotting withdrawal. Finally it was a clear night. I only got about 5 minutes in, but that was all I needed to spot 3 different object, one of which was totally bad ass.

Here's the time-line for the evening of:
Date: 8-Feb-2011 Tuesday

7:26 PM - orange fireball - 1.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: (possibly) 2006-050-AM
This was a bright orange fireball that cross the entire sky, going S to N, in about 3 seconds. The odd thing about this fireball is that it wasn't circular. It was, well, like a wide bright orange line crossing the sky. About the width of your pinky nail. I believe that there was a very light smoke trail that was left behind. Based on one website, this potentially was the decay of a piece of a Delta IV rocket (a Delta 4M, the smallest of the Delta IV rockets, to be exact). It's marked as being 'debris'. Based on the amount of debris from this particular launch, I would have to guess that either something catastrophic happened to the rocket OR it was the victim of a space collision with some other piece of space junk. This particular Delta 4M was used to launch DMSP-5D3 F17, a U.S. meteorological satellite for the DMSP (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program).

7:26 PM - Cosmos 2227 Rocket - 2.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1992-093-B
This is my first sighting of this Zenit 2 rocket body which was used to launch Kosmos 2227, a Russian Tselina-2 ELINT satellite.

7:28 PM - Cosmos 2297 Rocket - 2.3 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1994-077-B
This is my first sighting of this Zenit 2 rocket body which was used to launch Kosmos 2297, a Russian Tselina-2 ELINT satellite.

I still need to see satellites from the following years: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1966, and 2011. I notched 1969 at my last session after spotting Meteor 1-1. Only 7 more years to go.

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