Friday, 23 March 2012

Video of Metop-A (06-044A) flaring brilliantly

click images to enlarge

Metop-A (06-044A) is the first operational satellite in a planned series of European meteorological (weather) satellites. It was launched on 19 October 2006. Among satellite observers, it is known for frequently producing very bright flares. These flares occur when the solar panels reflect sunlight to the observer on Earth.

I captured such a flare with my video system yesterday evening: see the video above. The brilliant flare reached mag. -2 at 20:11:11.2 UTC (22 March 2012) and had a FWHM of 6.0 seconds.

Below the video is an integration of all the video frames, and a diagram of the brightness profile (made using LiMovie, wonderful software by Kazuhisa Miyashita). Camera was a WATEC 902H with Canon EF 2.0/35mm lens.

My GPS time-inserter unfortunately lost signal about a minute before the flare - hence why the display says "Bad GPS" in the video. Fortunately, in the preceding minutes I had recorded enough of time-signal in the video to extrapolate the time using the video frame rate. Hence, I am quite confident about the accuracy of the brightness profile.

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