Wednesday, February 10, 2010

USA 200 and a Proton Breeze-M tank - UPDATED

The last 3 weeks have been clouded and saw no opportunity to observe. Yesterday around midnight, I however noted it had cleared. It was a short duration clearing only before clouds bringing snow came in again, but the sky quality was quite good.

I tried to target the HEO USA 200 (08-010A) with the EF 2.5/100 Macro while it was passing through Auriga, but had bad luck: it didn't show up on the pictures, presumably being a bit too faint this time. Checking the images more carefully a few hours later, I discovered it some 0.35 degree off from the predicted position, being almost half a minute late.

The same picture series captured a stray unclassified object: a Russian Proton upper stage Breeze-M tank, 08-057B, from the 5 Nov 2008 launch of the Astra 1M satellite. Below is an animated GIF showing the trail (which was close to the image edge), and a picture of it's orbit. The animated GIF is constructed of 5 10-second exposure images taken at 20 second intervals.


click image to enlarge

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