GOCE gravity explorer flare observed

From: Marco Langbroek (marco.langbroek@wanadoo.nl)
Date: Thu Nov 19 2009 - 19:32:38 UTC

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    GOCE (2009-013A), the European Gravity field and steady state Ocean Circulation 
    Explorer, in a LEO orbit, is gradually becoming visible in the early evening sky.
    During a test whether the spacecraft could be captured on photograph, I was 
    fortunate to capture GOCE while it was modestly flaring.
    The photograph can be seen here:
    The sky quality was mediocre, there was some remnant haze in the sky.
    I also saw the brief flare/glint visually, estimating it at about mag. +2.5. It 
    happened at about 43 degrees altitude between 17:40:27 and 17:40:37 UTC (19 
    Nov). I will probably be able to get a better time indication when I measure the 
    image and compare the flare midpoint to an accurate TLE.
    There is a possibility that it can flare much brighter than this one, depending 
    on how optimal the flare geometry for this flare was or not. This certainly 
    should be a spacecraft that could be modelled for flaring, as it has a 
    controlled attitude.
    - Marco
    Dr Marco Langbroek  -  SatTrackCam Leiden, the Netherlands.
    e-mail: sattrackcam@wanadoo.nl
    Cospar 4353 (Leiden):   52.15412 N, 4.49081 E (WGS84), +0 m ASL
    Cospar 4354 (De Wilck): 52.11685 N, 4.56016 E (WGS84), -2 m ASL
    SatTrackCam: http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek/satcam.html
    Station (b)log: http://sattrackcam.blogspot.com
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