Saturday, March 07, 2009

An Iranian rocket (Safir 2 r/b)

Weather finally allowed me to observe one of the new Iranian objects from the February 2nd launch. It concerned the rocket booster from the launch, the Safir 2 r/b (09-004B).

Conditions were not perfect (somewhat hazy), but the rocket booster was well visible and I captured it on two images (see below). It showed a clear very slow amplitude brightness variation (amplitude >20 seconds), going between mag. +3 and near-invisibility for the naked eye (> +4). Around the brightness peak it gives a short bright glint. Both my photographs captured such a glint.

(update) Based on the two pictures, and assuming I didn't miss a glint in between them, the glint period is 33.25 seconds, with glints at:

7 Mar 2009 04:26:12.60 UTC
7 Mar 2009 04:26:45.85 UTC

Below the two pictures (as usual, Canon EOS 450D @ 800 ISO + EF 50/2.5 Macro @ F2.8), and the brightness profiles for these trails.

(click images to enlarge)

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