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Heads up! GOCE is decaying and will re-enter soon

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#26 Billytk

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:48 PM

So, if you were to see it burn up, would you be able to tell it from a meteor?

#27 rnc39560

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 11:27 PM

Its gone. Done. Ka-put

#28 brianb11213

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 03:43 AM

So, if you were to see it burn up, would you be able to tell it from a meteor?

I think not - the only thing you might notice is that a re-entering satellite (travelling at "only" 7 kilometers per second) might appear to move more slowly across the sky than a bolide/fireball resulting from infalling solar system debris (travelling at 11 kilometers per second, at least, possibly much, much faster depending on the orbital geometry).

Anyhow, GOCE is now GONE.

#29 rnc39560

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:09 AM

I'm sure we'll have some more debris to track to its demise!

#30 David Knisely

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:37 AM

It came down early this evening (0000 UT on Monday, November 11th).

#31 obin robinson

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:33 AM

So, if you were to see it burn up, would you be able to tell it from a meteor?

I think not - the only thing you might notice is that a re-entering satellite (travelling at "only" 7 kilometers per second) might appear to move more slowly across the sky than a bolide/fireball resulting from infalling solar system debris (travelling at 11 kilometers per second, at least, possibly much, much faster depending on the orbital geometry).

Anyhow, GOCE is now GONE.


When something as large as GOCE breaks up it tumbles into thousands of pieces. A meteorite is one object that breaks and burns up quickly. A satellite may have tens of thousands of pieces which are being shed off as it tumbles into the upper atomosphere.

Here's a video of a re-entry:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=5AG5T9uzgMY

You can see pieces breaking off as the machine is disintegrating in the atmosphere. GOCE was a sleek and fast moving satellite which was stable until only a few moments before re-entry.

Large objects like Skylab and Mir took a while to disintegrate. Not all of the pieces burned up and several hit the earth.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=fVQd9Ejkbiw

obin :)

#32 YosoY

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:33 AM

This is my first post. Wanted to share this pic of a smoke trail over S FL last night. Approx. 50 deg from horizon, looking south to east. Taken at 6:16PM Eastern. After checking several websites, think it might be a chunk of GOCE. Trail has an abrupt start and stop point. Definitely not a plane, this is not a flight path. Bright spot is the moon.

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#33 obin robinson

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:35 AM

WOW! If that is GOCE then you have a heck of a first post! Welcome aboard!

obin :jump:

#34 YosoY

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:40 AM

second pic of smoke trail, end point is at Cassiopeia.

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#35 YosoY

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:53 AM

Thanks Obin. Been lurking in these forums for a while, glad to contribute something :grin:

#36 choran

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:15 AM

Wow, that might be it indeed! The time is about right. I haven't read the reports yet on whether it reentered in your location. Should be some verification indeed. I hope you got it! I was hoping somebody would!

#37 rnc39560

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:55 AM

Very cool! Welcome to CN!

#38 YosoY

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:57 AM

Maybe not the final entry, but perhaps one of the last orbits since the predictions show it razing the coast of S FL....

Pic from
http://www.slate.com..._satellite_a...

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#39 WesC

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 01:05 PM

I hate to be the party pooper, but I seriously doubt those photos are of GOCE. According to this site GOCE de-orbited very far south, almost at Antarctica, and it was seen breaking up near the Falkland Islands.

http://www.spaceflig...e-re-entry.html

#40 brianb11213

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 01:55 PM

I hate to be the party pooper, but I seriously doubt those photos are of GOCE.

Yes. The images look a lot like regular aircraft condensation trails to me.

#41 YosoY

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:12 PM

:tonofbricks:

#42 rnc39560

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:37 PM

Hey! Don't be down about it! We like playing sleuth on here! The pic is cool anyway! ;)

#43 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:47 PM

It is possible that a piece skipped across the atmosphere like rocks on a pond and came crashing down much further along in the orbit.

#44 rnc39560

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:51 PM

Quite possible actually. It was probably shredded to bits like numerous other man-made objects on reentry.

#45 WesC

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:21 PM

Not likely, the separation distance between where the break up was sighted and the poster's location is over five thousand miles. Its much more likely that this is just a contrail.

#46 rnc39560

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:30 PM

Oops..... 5000 miles is a long way to skip a rock on a pond! Lol :)

#47 WesC

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:37 PM

Ha! That would be a hell of a shot!

#48 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:39 PM

When I was in college many years ago I was involved in a group project where we had to design a reentry vehicle for a single astronaut. I was assigned the problem of reducing the number of g's the astronaut took. Our capsule was basically a mini version of the Mercury space capsule but the astronauts took well over 10 g's with that capsule. The Gemini capsules gave their astronauts only around 4 g's max. The way they did it was to offset the CG to one side so the ablative disk would not be perpendicular to the oncoming air but would instead have some tilt. This would provide lift which kept the capsule from reentering all at once. It would spread the deceleration out over many more miles. I wrote a computer simulation and while I was playing with it I found it was possible to have the capsule bounce off the atmosphere. It would start to reenter but then go back up high above the air. Of course it would have lost much speed and eventually come back down even harder the next time. I don't remember exactly how far it went but 5,000 miles was possible. The problem with comparing that to a piece of space debris is that the capsule was aerodynamically stable and the lift was always up. Broken satellite parts will probably tumble and the lift vector would sometimes be down.

The most likely explanation is that a jet plane made the streaks but I wouldn't rule out GOCE parts only because 5,000 miles is too far.

#49 WesC

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:02 PM

That's really interesting! You know I was at the California Science Center last Friday to visit the shuttle Endeavor and while I was there I took a look at the 3 space capsules they have as well (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo). I was noticing how the blast pattern on the Gemini heat shield was off-center and I was curious what that was about... now I know!

Thanks for the informative explanation!

#50 choran

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:06 PM

I remember reading somewhere that with satellites, certain parts might fall off sooner than others, like solar panels and such. I've been looking today in the news trying to see whether the breakup/burn took place over a protracted period, or was fast. No luck on my research, though.






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