Re: Decay of 13215

From: Robert Holdsworth (
Date: Tue Jan 20 2009 - 09:16:12 UTC

  • Next message: Russell Eberst: "2009JAN19.OBS"

    Mark's assistance with this is much appreciated
    Several observation reports, all of which assumed this was a meteor, have 
    been posted at:
    This is a site I regularly visit and had it not been for my recuperation 
    from illness I might have noticed the  comments earlier.
    As you will see I have corrected the misconception in this thread and in 
    more detail in another one, and have also corresponded with the Mt John 
    Observatory identifying this object, all while avoiding violating the 
    SpaceTrack user agreement!
    I have also used this opportunity to inquire about any film of the event, 
    though unfortunately my comments on this have ended up in a place where they 
    may be overlooked.
    This event could well provide a much needed boost to satellite observation 
    in New Zealand, particularly the South Island, and I have couched my replies 
    and comments in such a way as to hopefully encourage this.
    Mark Robinson wrote:
    >> Queries about a bright light in the southern skies last night have been 
    >> coming into the Mount St John Observatory.
    >> A reader, Shannon, also saw the light and said: "I'm not 
    >> 100% sure what it was, but it looked like a comet or something entering 
    >> through the atmosphere last night around 10.30pm to 11pm.
    >> "It was a bright white light and was moving extremely fast to be a plane, 
    >> and looked to be breaking up as it moved along, as its colour changed to 
    >> orange."
    >> Alan Gilmore, a resident superintendent at the Mount St John observatory, 
    >> said reports from Christchurch described the bright object in the sky 
    >> shortly after 10pm that was visible for between two to three minutes and 
    >> left a glowing trail behind it.
    >> "My best guess was that it was a re-entering satellite. A comet does not 
    >> move like that, it stays more or less fixed against the background stars 
    >> unless it is very close to the earth, you need to watch it for two or 
    >> three hours in order to see it moving," Mr Gilmore said.
    >> He said it moved too slowly to be a meteor, which would be gone in two 
    >> seconds.
    >> "But everything fits with a re-entering satellite, that is a satellite 
    >> that is heating up because of the friction of the air, probably 100km or 
    >> higher up in the air, it's glowing white because it's heating up and it's 
    >> leaving a trail of charged, excited atmosphere gas which glows," said Mr 
    >> Gilmore.
    >> He said the trail could have also have been smoke picked up by the sun at 
    >> such a high altitude.
    >> "That's my best guess," he said.
    Subscribe/Unsubscribe info, Frequently Asked Questions, SeeSat-L archive:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Jan 20 2009 - 09:18:15 UTC