Friday, April 20, 2007

Bonus flare of unknown (=Metop-A) with USA 129 (UPDATED)

"Something" just produced a fine mag. -1.5 flare only a few degrees from USA 129. I have not identified the flaring object yet. I could see the two cruise up with each other on roughly parallel tracks, a few degrees apart, USA 129 at +2.5, in Ursa Major. The flarer was leading and produced the flare at 20:12:10 UTC. See image below. The fainter trail is USA 129.

USA 129 itself (I believe) produced a flare of mag. 0 low in the east at about 20:11:00 and remained bright for tens of seconds after that. I catched it still being +1 some 20 seconds later.

More later, including (I hope) the flarer ID after I have measured the image and have dan an ID run with the positions.

Update: the flaring object is identified as Metop-A, 06-044A. With thanks to Russell Eberst and Arnold Barmettler.

(click image to enlarge)

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