Saturday, March 31, 2018

Tiangong 1 satellite

This morning, I got up early to watch the Chinese satellite Tiangong 1 whiz by. (If you've been reading the news, Tiangong 1 is expected to burn up and crash to the Earth this weekend.)

And "whiz by", it did. It was "apparently" traveling 2-3 times faster than you'd see an airplane (or the International Space Station) fly over the night sky, which is to be expected because it's about 2¼ times lower in altitude than the ISS is right now, but traveling at approximately the same speed.

With the full moon, I didn't think I'd see it, nor capture it on my camera. But here it is: very little motion blur. Just a slightly long exposure with the ISO set to 800 (although in the photo I'm posting, I've jacked up the contrast a ton so you don't have to download the image to see it). In the center you'll see two "stars"; the one to the upper-left is actually Saturn and the one to the lower-right is Mars. Just to the left of Saturn, spaced approximately the same, is a much dimmer "star", and that is Tiangong 1, whizzing by in one of its last orbits ever.

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