Monday, May 24, 2010

Geostationary Galaxy 11 flaring to mag +2.5

In my post of yesterday, I reported a bright geostationary satellite flaring to naked eye brightness, observed by several Dutch and Belgian observers.

Below are my images of last night (taken with the EF 50/2.5 Macro). It shows two "stars" "too many" in Ophiuchus: a brighter one (A, vertical arrow) and a fainter one (B, flat arrow). The second image is a more detailed crop of the first, at full pixel level resolution.

click images to enlarge





The glare next to the tree in the wide field image, is due to a street lantern.

The satellite flaring to mag. +2.5 turns out to be Galaxy 11 (99-071A). It peaked near 22:18 UTC (23 May) and was visible with the naked eye at that moment, nothwithstanding it was low in the sky and I was observing from the city center.

The other object is Milstar 5 (02-001A) again. A faint trail of a non-geostationary satellite is visible as well: this turned out to be Globalstar 55 (99-049C).

Link: 2.2 MB animated GIF

Above link opens a 2.2 Mb animated gif with images from 22:10 to 22:19 UTC, which shows Galaxy 11 increasing in brightness. Milstar 5 is slowly drifting south.

A third geosat was captured on the images (not shown here), which is either Thuraya 2 (03-026A) or USA 202 (09-001A); probably the first.

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