Update on report of 2008-010B re-entry; seeking I.D. of suspected debris

From: Ted Molczan via Seesat-l <seesat-l_at_satobs.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2015 11:45:51 -0500
The report on the re-entry of 2008-010B / 32707 has undergone considerable revision since it was published on Nov 19. I
believe it is close to its final content and form. 


The conclusions are unchanged, and most of the revisions are intended to improve the accuracy and clarity of
presentation. For example, Allen Thomson has been working to add English translations of the quoted Spanish text, which
is about 50 percent complete. Completed examples appear in Sections 2.1.1 and 2.2. This is a significant improvement
over machine translation, particularly for science and technology subjects. An immediate benefit, was the clarification
in 2.1.1 of the description of the sound heard by witnesses after the fireball had passed from view. I suspected it was
a sonic boom, but with machine translation (Bing, Google), it did not seem much like one - inconclusive at best. Allen's
translation raises the sonic boom explanation to at least probable. To be certain, would require a proper debriefing of
the witnesses.

Two sections with new information have been added, that may be of interest to the list.

1. Image of smoke trail confirmed

List member Josť Luis Ruiz Gomez had the good fortune to witness the fireball. He is one of only three witnesses
documented to-date, and he managed to make a photo of what he suspected was a smoke trail remnant, that persisted in the
bright morning twilight sky. Josť Luis has done a superb job of determining the topocentric co-ordinates of the trail,
which along with the fortuitous close proximity to the penumbra, enabled an analysis that strongly supports the smoke
trail hypothesis. The data reduction and analysis are described in Section 4.5.

2. Debris photos added

The promised photographs of the suspected debris have been added as Appendix A, which brings me to a question that I
hope someone on the list could help answer. Section A.2 has three photographs of a 20 kg object found near Pozorrubio de
Santiago (Cuenca), that correlates spatially with the re-entry. They depict what appears to be a pipe or duct elbow,
with an irregular break on one end, and a flange on the other. Its size has been reported by the news media as 3 m, but
scaling from the cigarette pack in Figure A.3, reveals a pipe diameter of about 40 cm. The largest dimension appears to
be less than 1 m.

2008-010B was a Centaur stage, specifically the Common Centaur variant. Does anyone know whether the suspected debris
matches a known feature of this Centaur?

If it is confirmed to have come from 2008-010B, then it will help to better define the actual debris footprint, and may
help experts to verify existing re-entry debris survival analyses of the Common Centaur.

Ted Molczan

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Received on Sun Dec 13 2015 - 10:46:25 UTC

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