Friday, January 13, 2012

Gearing up for the Phobos-Grunt reentry

We are in for an interesting weekend, as the failed Russian Mars probe Phobos-Grunt is experiencing it's last days of existence. Gradually having come down over the past two months, it is expected to re-enter and burn up (but perhaps not completely) in the Earth atmosphere on Sunday or Monday.

Several days before the re-entry date, it is still not possible (whatever some news outlets erroneously write) to pinpoint when and where it will come down. At the moment of writing (early Friday), the SSC prediction amounts to a still over a day wide window between 15 Jan 02:40 and 16 jan 07:40 UTC. Harro Zimmer's latest prediction is for Jan 15 between 9:00 - 15:00 UTC. Both predictions encompass multiple revolutions around the earth. Please note: all these time windows can still shift, depending on actual developments in space weather (solar activity)  and other factors.

Below video has been posted here before, and shows a Fobos-Grunt pass filmed by me from Leiden, the Netherlands, on November 28:

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