satellite reentry or meteor?

From: James Dietrich (
Date: Sat Dec 03 2011 - 23:38:19 UTC

  • Next message: Tony Beresford: "Re: satellite reentry or meteor?"

    I have a question about an observation my brother made a few weeks
    ago. He is currently in Africa in southern Chad and was in or near
    the city of Lai when this happened (Lat: 9.4deg Long: 16.3deg)
    In an email to me earlier this week he wrote the following:
    During one meeting I saw a meteor, or perhaps a decaying satellite. It
    was bright and splashing out red sparks. It started just above the trees
    toward one direction and blazed all the way overhead and continued until
    it disappeared behind the trees on the opposite horizon. Absolutely
    stunning. I've never seen something like it before. I wonder if it was a
    satellite dying.
    I then asked if he remembered the date/time, hoping I could find out
    whether any satellites were known to have reentered during this time.
    He responded with this information:
    I think it was November 12. Maybe around 1630GMT? Plus or minus 30
    minutes, probably. As best I can remember, it traveled a SW -> NE
    direction. I think a bright moon was coming up that evening at some
    point as well. If it wasn't the 12th, it might have been the 15th.
    Whatever it was, it must have been a big chunk of something.
    I wish I had more specific information, but I still wanted to ask,
    Is there was any possibility of this being a satellite reentry, or
    was it more likely a meteor?
    Thanks for any information you may have!
    James Dietrich
    Seesat-l mailing list

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