USA 227/NROL-27 at 30.4 W: a Gryphon in Hydra
On April 6th, Peter Wakelin made the first observations of the new object. The orbit (by Ted) places it at 30.4 W, over the mid-Atlantic in front of the Brasil coast, in a 5 degree inclined orbit, placing it low in the southwest for me, at an altitude of about 20 to 25 degrees.
Yesterday evening was a very clear evening, and based on Ted's preliminary orbit I photographed it, using the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar MC 2.8/180 mm.
Below is (a part of) the image. The object, at that time a few degrees northwest of alpha Hydra, is bright and shows up well:
Launch patches for NROL-27 can be seen in an older post here.
Note added 12/04/2011: a follow-up discussing a possible relation between the NROL-27 mission patch symbology and the satellite's geographic location can be found here.