3:28:00 AM

ROSAT...Another Uncontrolled Satellite Reentry Expected 22OCT2011 To 24OCT2011

Space Weather News for Oct. 14, 2011
ROSAT RE-ENTRY: The ROSAT X-ray observatory, launched in 1990 by NASA and managed for years by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), will return to Earth within the next two weeks. Current best estimates place the re-entry between Oct. 22nd and 24th over an unknown part of Earth. ROSAT will produce a spectacular fireball when it re-enters, but not all of the satellite will disintegrate.  According to the DLR, heat-resistant fragments as massive as 1.7 tons could reach Earth's surface.  Check http://spaceweather.com for more information.
LAST-CHANCE SIGHTINGS:  As ROSAT slowly descends it is growing brighter. During favorable passes, the satellite can now be seen shining as brightly as a first magnitude star in the night sky.  Local flyby times may be found using SpaceWeather's Satellite Tracker: http://spaceweather.com/flybys .   Or turn your smartphone into a ROSAT tracker using our Simple Flybys app: http://simpleflybys.com

FROM...SatTrackCam Leiden station (b)log

SatTrackCam Leiden (Cospar 4353, formerly 4352) is an amateur satellite tracking camera located at Leiden, the Netherlands. It makes accurate positional measurements on satellites of interest, mostly classified satellites -i.e. spy satellites- in order to determine their orbits.
Thursday, October 13, 2011              

Observing another doomed satellite: ROSAT

Shortly after the UARS reentry, which got wide attention, another scientific satellite is about to meet its demise by an uncontrolled plunge into the atmosphere. It is the German X-ray astronomical satellite ROSAT. This satellite is currently predicted to reenter about October 22 to 24.

This evening I watched it pass during twilight (sun at 8 degrees below the horizon, first stars just visible in a blue sky). It was fast, zipping across the sky, and bright: magnitude +1 and an easy naked eye object.

I used the new EF 2.0/35mm lens (a new purchase, first used last weekend during the Draconid meteor outburst, on which I will post in a later post), set to F2.5, making 5 second exposures at 400 ISO. The fast moving objects ran out of the frame of two of the three images. Below is the image thats shows the complete trail. The satellite was moving from left to right, across Cepheus. The streak in top is a streak of cirrus.

click image to enlarge

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