Monday, 17 April 2017

Iridium 58 - 17 April 2017 - 19:19:43

Click to enlarge

Iridium 58 satellite (Flare: Mag -8) moving through the constellation Musca with Crux to the left.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse, ASSA Bloemfontein

Date: 17 April 2017
Time: 19:19:43
Brightness: -8
Altitude: 41°
Satellite: Iridium 58
Distance to satellite: 1122 km
Angle off flare centre-line: 0.1°
Distance to flare centre: 2 km
Flare producing antenna: right
Sun altitude: -19.3°
Angular separation from Sun: 120.7°

Iridium 58

Date (UTC) 30 March 1998 06:02
Launch siteVandenberg AFB, United States
Launch vehicle Delta 7920-10C

Photo information
Canon 30D
50mm lens
 ISO 400
89 exposures
30 second
Tripod and Canon TC-80N3 Remote Timer
Stacked in Starstax
Final Editing in Photoshop

Sunday, 26 February 2017

26 February 2017 — Annular Solar Eclipse — Bloemfontein, South Africa

First Contact 17:10; Maximum 18:08, Last Contact - Not visible

Photos: Hannes Pieterse, ASSA Bloemfontein

Animation of the Eclipse (Click on Image)

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Telkom 3 - A failed satellite launch in 2012

Several Amateur Astronomers observed the sporadic flashes in the night sky the last couple of days. (January 2017).  Greg Roberts (Cape Town, South Africa), international acclaimed satellite hunter identified the mysterious flashes as a failed communication satellite, Telkom 3.

Telkom 3  (Wiki information)
Telkom-3 is an Indonesian communications satellite which was lost due to a launch failure on 6 August 2012. It was built by ISS Reshetnev for Indonesian telecommunications provider PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia. It was based on the Ekspress-1000 bus and had 32 C band transponders and 16 Ku band transponders. It was due to be located in geosynchronous orbit at 118° east above the equator,

Some images by Hannes Pieterse, Bloemfontein, South Africa. 26th January 2017.
Time: 21:27:46 - 21:31:56

 Click on the images to enlarge!
 The final image. The eight stable dots are Telkom 3 moving slowly below Sirius in then constellation Canis Major. 26th January 2017. Time: 21:27:46 - 21:31:56.  Seven (7) Images were stacked in Startrails; No dark frame subtraction; Tweaked in Photoshop. Canon 40D with a Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3, 17-55mm f2.8. 800 ISO; 30 sec exposures. Camera mounted on tripod; City light pollution, clouds and trees hampering the imaging process. 

 The red dots point to the primary flashes and the yellow arrows to the secondary flashes. Greg Roberts  our satellite guru in South Africa reckons Telkom 3 is rotating, from there the secondary flashes. 
 Do some homework before you set up to take the photographs. Heavensat software.

Upload an image to and identify the sky, stars, constellations etc. to confirm the satellite's position in the sky.

Telkom-3S later replaced the failed Telkom 3.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

10 New Iridium NEXT Satellites in orbit

The satellites still very close to each other on this chart (marked in red). They will eventually spread out like the other Iridium satellites.

 Chart for Bloemfontein tonight 20:30 (25 January 2017)

  The latest Iridium satellites should be visible tonight. Use binoculars.  About Magnitude 5 - 7.

Iridium Announces Successful First Launch of Iridium NEXT Satellites

 MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today the successful launch of its first ten Iridium NEXT satellites. The satellites were delivered into low-Earth orbit approximately one hour after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54:39 a.m. PST. Iridium NEXT is the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the entire globe – the largest commercial satellite constellation in space.

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