Ariane 5 / XMM launch observed

Igor Lissov (i-cosmos@mtu-net.ru)
Tue, 21 Dec 1999 18:12:01 +0300

Hi,

I've just got a report of unusual obs and I suspect the guys saw
Ariane 5 second stage burn.

Date: December 10, 1445-1515 UTC
Location: Zelenchukskaya, Russia (approx. 43 deg 50 min N, 41 deg 35 min E).
The object slowly moved W to E. In south, it had declination approx. 20 deg.
(being in Pegasus, so elevation was approx. 60 deg). Object's mag was +4.5,
and it has coma of +2 mag. In the western part of the path, two jets were
observed
up and down from the object, their length approx. 1 deg. After S, the coma
changed
from shapeless 3-3.5 deg 'cloud' to an elliptical one, some 2 deg in size.
Observers
also noted variations in brightness by 1.5 mag, with period of 4 sec.

The description fits nicely into Ariane 5 / XMM launch sequence as reported
by
Jonathan McDowell in his December 13 issue of JSR (#414). Unfortunately,
I don't have initial XMM or Ariane 5 R/B elsets to map the path and confirm
this.

Merry Christmas to you all,
Igor Lissov



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