Re: Mystery satellite flare

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (grd.holtkamp@t-online.de)
Date: Fri Feb 11 2011 - 18:33:58 UTC

  • Next message: Bill Arnold: "Obs for Feb. 11"

    On Friday 11 February 2011 18:05, George Kristiansen wrote:
    > I was trying to photograph Perseid meteors, and while I was doing it, I saw
    > a strange satellite flying from west to east, which produced a bright flare
    > (by comparison, the brightest star in the photo is about mag. 0.8) in the
    > constellation Delphinus. I re-discovered the photo recently, and used
    > Calsky and heavens-above to discover that the photo is of an unpredicted
    > flare from ROSAT. I don't know very much about it, but I suppose it is
    > likely out of control if the flare was not predicted? Does anyone else know
    > about this satellite, or have any photos of it? I feel quite happy to have
    > a photo of a flare from a 'dead' satellite which cannot be predicted any
    > more.
    >
    
    ROSAT is a German X-ray satellite which was launched in 1990. It made 
    inportant contributions to X-ray astronomy and exceeded its lifetime before 
    being retired. I observed it many times during its operational life but it 
    usually showed up as a dim reddish object. The flare might come from its 
    solar panels but there are few other surfaces which could also produce 
    flares. 
    
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
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