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Happy Equinox! September 23, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, satellites.
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Here in Charleston the forecast is cloudy with a small chance of late falling  satellite debris.

What a fragment might look like as it enters the Earths atmosphere. APOD: Credit & Copyright: Howard Edin (Oklahoma City Astronomy Club)

In case you haven’t heard, the NASA UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere late evening GMT on September 23 or early morning on September 24. It is about the size of a city bus, so some of the denser parts made of Beryllium and Titanium are expected to survive.

Computer simulations estimate about two dozen fragments weighing from 10 to several hundred pounds are expected to hit the Earth.  Now they won’t hit at orbital speeds of 17,000 mph, but some fragments might be traveling up to 200 mph when they hit the ground.

Right now, the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies lists the projected re-entry time as 03:16 on Sept. 24, plus or minus 5 hours.  September 24, 2011 at 03:16 UTC ± 5 hours; or September  23, at 10:16 PM ± 5 hours Central Daylight Time

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