Possible decay which wasn't!

From: Robert Holdsworth (robbonz1@xtra.co.nz)
Date: Tue Apr 01 2003 - 13:44:01 EST

  • Next message: paul: "8305 obs 02apr"

    A local weekly newspaper here reported a rapidly moving bright and
    apparently decaying object they described as "space junk" having been seen
    travelling through the sky from the direction of a hill west of  my location
    and travelling west, and observed from a location near Lower Hutt  which
    puts it in the vicinity of 41.21700S, 174.91700E. though possibly Northeast
    of that. It was also seen in a number of other locations to the east of this
    including Nelson 41.28300 S, 173.28300 E
    My enquiries indicated that the object was seen in the morning at 6:50 a.m
    local on the morning of Wednesday 19 March (1850Z on 18 March.)
    After consultation with Alan Pickup it was clear that this did not fit the
    profile of a decayer at all - surprisingly a local astronomical facility
    here (better not identify it!) had not discounted the possibility and
    basically said it could be any one of a number of pieces of space junk.
    I have come to the conclusion after research on the web that it was probably
    a meteor- likely Beta Leonids though there are some other possibilities -
    and not being an expert myself suggested the reporter consult the  local
    astronomical society.
    This has had the side effect of getting the reporter very interested in
    Iridium flares (though cloud has prevented any sightings since our
    conversation) and very possibly will result on an article on those too- she
    may also be watching the ISS EVA on NASA-TV!
    Thanks Alan for your assistance.
    Robert Holdsworth
    New Zealand
    41.26100S, 174.94700E
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