Monday, 6 May 2013

PAN has moved again [UPDATED]

On April 23 I wrote the following about PAN (2009-047A) and its frequent relocations in my post here:

"No doubt it will move again in the future, perhaps in May as December and May are frequently the months the satellite is moved"

I was very right with the "perhaps in May": PAN is on the move again!

Greg Roberts observing from South-Africa noted it missing at its old position on April 29. He recovered it on May 4th near the commercial geostationary Comsat Yamal 404. It is not (yet) clear whether that is its final position, or whether it is still drifting. Greg next initially thought he recovered it near the commercial comsat Yamal 404 on imagery from May 4th, but that turned out to be a mistake: as Mike McCants pointed out, the object in question was in reality the commercial geosat GSAT 8.

Ian Roberts, another South African observer, then located what likely indeed is PAN near Intelsat 12 on May 6th. Greg Roberts then managed to find it in his earlier images of May 4th as well, confirming Ian's observations.

Just goes to show that even the most secret of all satellites cannot escape the inquisitive eyes of a dedicated amateur.

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