Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Doomed ROSAT captured in video

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

I actually kinda half-expected this would happen: the fantastic "amateur" astronomer Thierry Legault was able to observe and get video of the astronomical satellite ROSAT as it's making its final orbits around the Earth:

[embed width="610"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxVR2UjiTKc[/embed]

He also observed it on October 16th

, but I think the video above from late September shows it better. To show you how good this is, I took an image he provided of stills from his video and added a drawing of the satellite below them:

thierrylegault_rosat.jpg

Amazingly, in Thierry's images you can clearly see the boom extending from the satellite's main body (at the bottom of the photos, and off to the left in the drawing). That boom holds a magnetometer (to measure the Earth's magnetic field) and an antenna used to communicate with Earth. From what I can tell, the boom is about 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) in length. In that September image, ROSAT was over 450 km (270 miles) away from Thierry when he took it! Current models predict

ROSAT will plunge to Earth on October 23rd, sometime around 11:00 UTC (7:00 a.m. Eastern US time). Follow ROSAT_reentry

on Twitter for the latest info.


Related posts: - YouTube video where I explain a satellite re-entry - BREAKING: SpySat successfully hit by missile - Atlantis, one last time in the Sun - SERIOUSLY jaw-dropping pictures of Endeavour and the ISS!

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In