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Sketch of Centaur-Satellite separation

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#1 Vincent Becker

Vincent Becker

    Mariner 2

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:39 AM


Sunday night over Europe a US military satellite separated from its Centaur launcher. The launcher was then re-fired to send it orbiting around the sun for "safe disposal" and its surplus fuel jettisoned. These events occured over nortern Europe, resulting in a stunning show.

Appearing to the south, near Jupiter, a bright, comet-like cloud ascended in the sky, moving due north. Approximately at the zenith it broke up in two clouds, the foremost one becoming very bright at its end. Wether it was the satellite or the rocket firing, I can't tell. I then noticed a very large double halo surrounding the clouds, extending 50° from Cygnus to Ophiuchus. All of them disappeard below the horizon to the north, crossing Ursa Major.

Here is a sketch I made the following day (sketch which I also published here ):

Posted Image

It is not a work of art, its intention being to show the extent of the phenomenon.

I saw it by chance, not knowing what it was at the time. I was very imrpessed and, to be honest, a little scared!

Best regards,

#2 JayinUT


    I'm not Sleepy

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:41 AM


Excellent sketch that achieves its purposes, it must have been huge! I once saw, back in the day, the self destruction of a Minuteman Missle over the Pacific without knowing what it was. They can be quite amazing and un-nerving!

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