Re: satellite trail?

From: Mike McCants (mmccants@prismnet.com)
Date: Tue Aug 20 2013 - 11:51:56 UTC

  • Next message: Jon Mikel: "Satobs 20/08/2013"

    Arto Oksanen asked:
    
    >is it something that rotates this fast?
    
    The rocket is actually tumbling this rapidly.
    
    After the rocket releases its payload, it releases its excess
    fuel (liquid hydrogen) and oxidizer (liquid oxygen).  This would
    give a very bright "comet" display under the proper circumstances.
    The angular momentum that is given to the rocket as a result of
    this process is converted to an end over end tumble.
    
    The bright flashes are the result of sunlight reflecting along
    the length of the rocket.
    
    This object in not unusual in this respect.  A nearly one second
    tumble period is observed for a number of these Centaur rockets.
    
    We recently observed a one second tumble for an Ariane 5 rocket -
    object number 36832 in a GTO orbit.  But that is unusual for
    the Ariane rockets.  Most tumble more slowly.
    
    Mike McCants
    
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