Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Satellite rush hour

Over the past week I could observe on the evenings of April 8th, 11th and 12th. Several objects were captured: the KH-12 USA 186 (05-042A) on all three evenings, IGS 1B (03-009B) on the 8th and 12th, the KH-12 USA 129 (96-072A) and the IGS 5r/b on the 8th. USA 186 slowly flared to -1 on the 11th at 20:34:45 UTC.

In addition, a number of strays were captured, including yet another Breeze-M tank (09-016C, from the Eutelsat W2A launch) and a non-classified military object, the DMSP B5D2-2 (83-113A) military weather satellite. The latter flared, with the flare peak near 20:34:12.87 UTC (secondary peaks near 20:34:12.45 and 20:34:13.37 UTC).

The DMSP flare was captured as a stray in a rather uniquely satellite-crowded image that also shows the KH-12 USA 186 (the target), the mentioned Breeze-M tank (09-016C), and a third stray, the Kosmos 1531 r/b (84-003B) all in an area of only a few degrees! Below is the image in question (the DMSP is moving from top to bottom here, USA from bottom to top):

click image to enlarge

Below is the brightness profile of the DMSP flare derived from the image:

click diagram to enlarge

During observations, I had a spectator: Pippi the cat followed my activities with close attention from behind the window:

click image to enlarge

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