NANOSAIL D-2 high res observations, May 22

From: Ralf Vandebergh (
Date: Mon May 23 2011 - 11:46:11 UTC

  • Next message: George Roberts: "Re: NANOSAIL D-2 high res observations, May 22"

    Here are some results of a new imaging session of Nanosail D-2 on May 22, almost a midnight pass.
    Most obvious detail of this pass was a clear flashing behave. this would point at tumbling. 
    And for the first time from my location (50°48'N 5°54'E) it reached naked-eye brightness. 
    The flashes appeared in a regular pattern, however during a short certain moment in the pass 
    it seemed to show a steadier brightness. The sail never became very dim during the minima in this
    pass, so I was well possible to keep it centered to capture sufficient frames. A detailed inspection of
    the video is underway to estimate any flashing time. Since I’m hunting for Nanosail starting in 
    February, the Sail has shown very variable behave. My first attempts failed because it never
    was favorable illuminated, even when favorable magnitudes were predicted. It was too faint and visible
    for only a short time and disappeared, like it was tumbling very slowly. During the pass on April 24,
    when I grabbed the first high-res frames, it appeared almost steady but the pass was totally
    different (S-NE) while now (May 22) it passed NNW-S which appears to be the best angle for favorable
    illumination. Included are 2 JPG and 2 GIF files. The images-set shows raw image and processing
    and the animations are made of frames with 1 minutes time difference between the 2 animations,
    showing how the shape of the Sail is visible through the air-turbulence. It’s a very challenging object,
    but the shape is just resolvable during the best moments of seeing.
    Imaging-data: 10inch Newtonian reflector, manually tracked using parallel tracking scope,
    recording: JVC-GRDX27E video at 25 fr/s and 0.10’’/p res)
    Ralf Vandebergh
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