Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Watch out for falling satellites

The huge Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) will be plummeting to Earth in an uncontrolled re-entry this week, but here’s an incredible video from astrophotographer extraordinaire Thierry Legault who shot footage of UARS with his 14-inch telescope. Legault was in Northern France (Dunkerque) last week to attempt to capture views of the satellite, and had success on September 15, 2011 between 04:42:14 and 04:44:02 UTC, just 8-9 days before its atmospheric reentry, when it was at an altitude of only 250 km. The tumbling, uncontrolled nature of the satellite is obvious in this video, and various components are visible, such as the body itself and the solar arrays.

NASA has now refined its prediction for when this bus-sized satellite will fall to Earth. The 20-year-old defunct satellite now has a predicted re-entry Time of about 20:36 UTC on September 23, 2011, plus or minus 20 hours, according the the UARS Reentry Twitter feed. So, heads up! (Source: Universe Today)

In the early morning I worked N1AAU Fred from Massachusetts on 7076 KHz with JT65A. There were very strong stations on the JT65A frequency what makes it difficult to pull out the weaker stations. I was also reported by KC8HNZ and WX4CB. I did hear with bpsk31 on 7037 KHz for the first time TI station from Costa Rica (TI2GBY) I tried to call him but I wasn't successful.

9 comments:

  1. Fantastic footage from the French astrophotographer. There is a lot more space junk out there ready to go into free-fall. Much bigger than Telstar of long ago. (loved the song Telstar, especially the ker-chunk, ker-chunk at the end of it).

    Congrats on some great digital successes.

    73 Dick

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  2. Hello Dick, I wonder where the debris will fall. I hope nobody gets hurt. 73 Paul

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  3. Hallo Paul, heb je die andere video op youtube ook gezien?? De zwaarste delen vallen aan de buitenkant van de footprint.....en laat dat nou precies Nederland zijn....
    Vrijdag maar een helm op doen ;-)
    73, Bas

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  4. Hallo Bas, ja het zal je maar gebeuren. ;-) 73 Paul

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  5. Hi Paul,
    Hope this ends up in the ocean somewhere.
    As the old saying goes..."Heads up"
    Regards - Jim

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  6. Drat. Checked the Heavens-Above site and no visible passes at my QTH. Maybe that's a good thing. :)

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  7. Where did I put that tin-foil hat I bought when Halley's Comet was around?

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  8. Hi Casey: keep watching... ;-) 73 Paul

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  9. Hi Julian, we need a good dug-out... 73 Paul

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