Glonass launch of 2006 Dec 25: venting observed from Europe

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sun Dec 31 2006 - 14:20:03 EST

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    SeeSat-L subscriber Leo Enright sent me the following information off-list:
    <<< ... interesting series of reports from across Europe at about 0100 on
    December 26:
    Observers in the Black Forest and in the Bavarian Alps in Germany, in Provence
    in France and perhaps also in Corsica have reported seeing a triangular glow for
    15-20 minutes in the constellation Orion. 
    The relevant message threads (in French and German, - and including diagrams)
    are at:

    The timings are infuriatingly imprecise, but there's good agreement on the
    location. >>>
    Leo, this appears to have been related to the launch of three Glonass M
    satellites on a Proton rocket, which occurred on 2006 Dec 25 at 20:18 UTC. The
    first payload is 06062A / 29670. 
    I believe that the observed phenomenon was related to the circularization burn,
    which should have occurred at the first apogee of the transfer orbit, which I
    estimate to have been near 23:49 UTC on Dec 25, about 19,130 km above 13.0 N,
    11.6 W. 
    From the vantage point of Marseille (43.3 N, 5.4 E), which is in the region of
    Provence, this event would have been located near RA 05:04, Dec +03:44, which is
    in Orion. From that location, the local time would have been 00:49 on Dec 26, in
    reasonable agreement with the "0100 on December 26" that Leo gleaned from the
    above message threads.
    The objects would have entered the penumbra of Earth's shadow at about 23:55
    UTC, and the umbra at about 23:56 UTC, while still within Orion. They would have
    emerged from the umbra near 00:42 UTC, and the penumbra at about 00:43 UTC, near
    06:03, +36:04, which is in Auriga.
    Ted Molczan
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