(Email from Cattle Point Dark Sky Urban Star Park volunteer William Smith)
Dear Gerhard Drolshagen : On the Orbit of WT1190F (aka Snoopy)
Does object get captured weeks before and go into earth’s orbit, slowly losing speed and descending? OR does it come shooting directly into the earth’s atmosphere – almost perpendicular to a tangent ie pointing at the earth’s centre? This is important because if it orbits the earth one or two times as it slows down, then we might see it in the dark of the late evening where we are on West Coast of North America..
If you look at the ISS paths then focus in on the one which crosses southern India, this might indicate that SNOOPY (coming also NW-> SE) would pass over Panana, Bahamas, Northern Spain , Mediterranean and then IRAN . No luck for west coast of USA/Canada where I am.
Gerhard Drolshagen forwarded your message to me. Here is some of the info we have on WT1190F.
The object has been in Earth’s orbit at least since 2009. It has been moving in an elongated orbit with apogee at about twice the distance of the Moon, and perigee getting closer and closer to the Earth, until the upcoming re-entry. Since 2009, it has completed dozens of orbits around the Earth, and each orbit is about a month long.
The impact trajectory is not very vertical, but still much steeper than the typical re-entry of a low-orbiting satellite. It will come in with an angle of about 20° from the horizontal (=70° from vertical).
Given the fact that the orbit is so long, the geometry is totally different from a pass of the ISS. The latter orbits the Earth in about 90 minutes, while WT1190F takes weeks. So the current pass is actually the last part of the last orbit for this object.
Anyway, from a geometry point of view, it will definitely be observable from north America in the morning hours of November 12. However, it will be very faint, magnitude 19 or so, invisible by eye even with a large telescope. A CCD camera and at least a moderate-size telescope will be needed to get an image of it at that time.
Even for Europe and Northern Africa, which are the countries best-placed to observe it just hours before impact, it will only reach magnitude 15 or so, too faint for anything but images with a good telescope.
If you want to get an ephemeris for a specific site, I suggest you use this page from the Minor Planet Center: http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/artsats/artsats.html. Just select WT1190F, enter the required information, and you will get your specific ephemeris based on the latest data.
Let us know if you need any additional info, and thanks for contacting us.
PS Young post-grads : http://hoyleshield.wesmith104.com/?page_id=80
For the past few weeks you may have noticed meteors shooting across the sky. There is the Geminid meteor shower and three other smaller meteor showers in progress. Although with the bright moon, the dimmer meteors aren’t as easily seen.
The Geminids started Dec 4 and end Dec 17. On Sat Dec 14, at their peak they can give 120 meteors per hour. Fairly slow for meteors, they are travelling at a speed of 35 km/s. (That’s still pretty fast. For comparison, the International space station orbits at 8km/s, and goes around the Earth in 90 minutes.)
There are three smaller showers in progress: The sigma-Hydrids from Dec 03-Dec 15, peaked on Thurs Dec 12 with 3 meteors/hour, at speeds of 58km/s.
The Comae Berenicids from Dec 12-Jan 23 peaked on Monday Dec 16 with 3 meteors/hour, at speeds of 65km/s
And the December Leo Minorids from Dec 05-Feb 04 peak on Thurs Dec 19 with 5 meteors/hour at 64km/s
Don’t forget Comet Lovejoy in the early morning around 7am, before sunrise, a small fuzzy blob visible between Hercules and Corona Borealis above the eastern horizon. The bright moon drowns it out currently, so you’ll need binoculars or a telescope to see it and its slight tail.
2015-11-13 : 10:21 PST. Splashdown was last night at 22:19 PST in SRI LANKA off coast of Matara. Was late evening on USA Westcoast Thursday. Please enjoy my Blog. This is a conversation between young post-grad scientist Subath Amaradasa of the “Near Earth Objects” Team at the University of Ruhuna, who is on ground with French scientists from European Space Agency and William Smith who is the Hoyle-Shield coordinator at Cattle Point DARK SKY Urban Star Park, Victoria, Canada.
PS There will be a post script to the Snoopy event. Snoopy is almost certainly the Apollo 10 lunar lander – aka Snoopy. Its orbit which reaches way past the moon, makes this almost certain. No wonder it burned out. Very high speed entering the upper atmosphere. Ten times the speed of the fastest bullet on earth. Being small and with no shielding, no wonder it quickly burned out. Thanks to Rick Nowell for inspiring Subath Amaradasa and his “Near Earth Object” team at the University of Ruhuna in Matara, Sri Lanka.
What is the objective of the BC Meteor Group?
One of the best meteor showers during the year are the Geminids, which occur annually on Dec 14. Earth enters the fringes of their orbit from Dec 4 until Dec 17. The peak of 120 meteors per hour, should be from Saturday noon Dec 13, until Sunday morning 10am Dec 14, 2014.
The skies were dark, since the Moon didn’t rise until after midnight. Although both nights it got cloudy around 1am where I am near Cranbrook, BC. The meteors were generally bright, medium fast speeds of 35km/s, and different colours. I saw white and red. This shower has some mass sorting, with small dust arriving the first day, followed by grains of sand, then pebbles a day later. It’s debris from a 5km diameter asteroid, 3200 Pheathon.
Dec 16 is also the peak for a smaller meteor shower, the Coma Berenicids, with a peak of 3 meteors per hour.
I took three Nikon cameras out. I goofed on one camera, I had it set for just ISO 1000. That captured two meteors in Ursa Minor, and that’s why they were so dim. The other two cameras were set at 3200 ISO, which is optimum. The max is 6400, but that can be snowy. The slight background brown glow is woodsmoke and thin cloud, the camera sensor shows haze like that. This was a Vivitar 28mm f/2.5 lens, hooded against the frost. All the tripods and camera equipment quickly frosted over at the -7 deg temperatures.
I was out again Sunday evening by Horseshoe Lake, with clouds over Orion. I got a hundred more photos and listened to coyotes howling nearby. The meteors were pretty nice still, I saw one every minute, some just out of the corners of my eye. Most were white falling parallel to the northern and southern horizon. Two I saw were moving slow, red in colour, on the far Western horizon.
We’re a loose group of amateurs who either run the Sentinel system. or a radio detection system or both.
We communicate via emails when we see a bright fireball and did a quick poll that way.
We’d write “Did you see it at ##:## UT on sic and such date?”. Then wait for the other stations to say yes or no. We are not an organization, a club, or society.
We are a loose confederation/network of cameras operators and radio operators.
Bill and Glen started the educational outreach project on their own and that’s when Jeff decided to throw a web together, to assist them by providing an example of what school boards could do for their teachers and kids. I think this is a very worthy project and would like the website to be part of our ‘mission’.
When Sandia Labs changed to the latest system, WSentinel, they added the capability to rsync our captures to NMSU for display.
Some of our members do not participate with the NMSU side of it or they stayed with their old frame grabber system so they can not send data to NMSU.
Hopefully Bill Cooke will let us start sending data to the fireball site but so far we after Ed and I asked to join the asgard network.
Right now Ed and my asgard data are stacking up in isolation on our hard drives.
Once Ed and I through the vetting process we will be sending data directly to the nasa fireball web site.
At that time we’re going to try and get the other camera operators to join us with asgard so we can produce meaningful data for NASA and IMO and AMS.
We have just gone operational with ASGARD. We plan to stream our captures to our site but that’s down the road.
Email:Jeff Brower email@example.com
College of the Rockies–COTR
Located in the East Kootenays in the South-eastern corner of BC, along the Rocky Mountain Trench. We recently placed an AllSky camera on the roof of our Cranbrook main campus.
In the Science department we offer University Transfer 1st and 2nd year courses, as well as Grade 11 and 12. Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science.
Our Astronomy 100 course boasts a Celestron CPC1100 11 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain, a 10″ Meade LX200, a 13″ Dobsonian and a number of smaller 4.5″ Newtonians. We do constellation (and meteor) photography with Nikon D100 digital cameras.
Physics Lab Tech
The College of the Rockies Astronomy department has a Sentinel IV AllSky Meteor camera running under WSentinel video capture software ver 1.1.11. The College is located at Cranbrook BC, in the SouthEastern corner of BC. Our Camera coordinates are N49° 31′ 03.1″, W115° 44′ 37.1″, at an elevation of 940.0m (within 10cm).
The Sample Photo shows what our black and white rooftop camera sees, the lights of Cranbrook to the West, along the bottom of the photo. There are some red beacons flashing on the surrounding mountains, the one at 12 o’clock position marks roughly North (about 3 degrees True). The double-beacon at the 1:30 position marks a TV/Cell Tower at 309 degrees. The fisheye lens can view all around the horizon. The twin pine trees at the 7 o’clock position are in the College’s South parking lot. There’s a exhaust vent that shades the camera from some bright lights over to the East. Although the housing has been leveled to within 0.3 deg, the camera is tilted 5 degrees inside, and results in an elliptical rather than a circular horizon. The ratio of major to minor axes is 1.10.
We use a Starlight B/W CCD, a HiCam HB-710E [http://www.hicam.co.kr/main/710.htm] ultra-low light-level (0.0003 lumens) video camera (with 1/2” CCD sensor, 768×494 effective pixels), with the Rainbow L163VDC4P fisheye lens (1.6~3.4mm F1.4 – with mechanical auto-iris). Video is fed to an ATI All-in-Wonder video capture card on a Windows XP computer at 640×480 pixels, 29.97 frames/second. There’s about 18 hot pixels in the CCD sensor, so those are not all stars shown in the photo. Available is a photo of the inside of the lenscap revealing the hotpixels. This is normally used when you’re “stacking” the video frames and want to subtract out the hotpixels and background levels. Hot Pixels in the Sony CCD sensor PNG file.
Photo Reference Points: in the photo there is a flashing dot at the 12 o’clock position that marks 3 degrees true. In the photo, note the top of Woodteck Hill has a rotating beacon. This hilltop is located at N 49°34’18”; W115°44’22”; at elevation of 3,421′(1,043m). From the college, this would be 6.0 km away at a bearing of 2.9 degrees, altitude 1.0 degrees up from the horizon.
Photo was taken at 18 May 2011 at 23:30:52 Mountain Daylight Time. Starmap generated by Meade Autostar Suite Astronomers Ed ver 3.19 2005
The pair of tower beacons at the 5 o’clock position, their centre point bearing 309°, are located 5.25 km distant at an elevation of 4,000 feet. The television tower is marked at 100 feet tall. Thus a total of about 4,100 feet (1,250m) at an angle of 3.0 degrees up from the horizon. Found on an older topographical map, 82G/12 dated 1980, 1:50,000 Scale, at N49°32’47”, W115°48’00”. The newer topographical maps don’t show the towers. The photo was taken 18May2011 at 23:35:50 MDT, and superimposed on a Autostar Suite 3.19 starmap adjusted to show the horizon at that time and location. At that time, the star Elnath in Auriga is located at (alt +3.0 °, az 312.8 °) The beacons are the same altitude as Elnath, at +3.0 degrees. No correction has been made for atmospheric refraction.
Time is synchronized to a College Network time server (since the end of August) and stays within 0.1 second of world time. Previous to that, it was slow by up to a minute.
Our AllSky camera was supplied by Richard Spalding of Sandia National Labs, in New Mexica, USA. Dick Spalding’s all-sky-all-the-time camera development is described at http://www.sandia.gov/LabNews/LN11-29-02/labnews11-29-02.pdf.
For more info, contact Rick Nowell at firstname.lastname@example.org