Re: Mystery image

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Sun Jan 08 2006 - 13:29:39 EST

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    Roy Tucker wrote:
    >     I have a very puzzling image here and I thought I might ask if anyone
    >has a better explanation than I have come up with.
    >     The image appears to be a streak about 25 arcminutes long, oriented
    >principally in the north-south direction. The image was acquired in
    >scan-mode and every time a parallel shift occurs, there is a little jog in
    >the trail. Knowing the distance between jogs and the frequency of the
    >parallel shifts, I can say that the object is moving about 0.32 degrees per
    >second. It should be possible to determine from the direction of the jog if
    >the object is moving north or south. I believe the object is moving south
    >but I haven't gone through the rigorous analysis of this before so I could
    >be 180 degrees out. This is most likely some sort of earth-orbiting
    >artificial satellite. The odd thing is the appearance of the streak. It
    >      Z03F01   C2005 12 29.20046 05 00 58.38 +12 16 36.7 683
    The movement would be compatible with a satellite at about 690 km altitude and 
    81 deg. inclination. I think this is typical for Russian satellites. But such 
    a satellite would have been in shadow at the time of observation.
    >     The only explanation that I can think of is that I recorded a rocket
    >engine firing. The flare of light may be the expanding incandescent plume.
    If it was indeed a Russian satellite would they perform maneuvers outside of 
    groundstation contact? Could an old rocket stage have exploded? (Wild 
    speculation, I know!)
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
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