Wednesday, 2 September 2009

A Keyhole flaring, a Molniya ELINT and the USA 144 decoy again

The evenings of August 31 and September 1 were clear. On August 31 I targetted two higher objects with the EF 100/2.8 Macro USM: USA 184 (06-027A), an ELINT in a Molniya orbit (see a few posts back), and the USA 144 Decoy again (99-028C). On September 1st, two LEO objects were the target: the KH-12 Keyholes USA 129 (96-072A) and USA 186 (05-042A).

USA 129 brightly flared to mag. -1 at 20:34:11.1 UTC (Sep 1st). The camera was open when it did:

Click image to enlarge

The series of images of the USA 144 Decoy yielded information again about the periodicity of it's brightness (indicating the tumbling period). Like the data of August 25 and 27, it fits a sinusoid with a period of 71 second.

Click diagram to enlarge

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