Re: Unidentified re-entry (?) over Venezuela

Millennium (
Tue, 12 Jan 1999 18:13:56 -0400

Alan Pickup wrote:

> Chris Peat <> writes
> >I have had several messages from an observer in Aruba, Dutch Caribbean,
> >regarding observations of a possible satellite re-entry at the end of
> >December. I have suggested to him that he join the Seesat mailing list, but
> >in the meantime, could anyone please help with the identification. Here is a
> >summary of his e-mails (he also sent me photographs he took, but there was
> >an error in the encoding and I couldn't see them).
> <Forwarded message from Alfredo E. Pichardo snipped>
> I know of no satellite re-entries that could have been visible from
> Aruba at the times (December 29 18:48 local and December 31 23:16 local)
> reported. The Cosmos 2335 re-entry was some 30 minutes later on the 31st
> so, unless the observer has the wrong time, this is not one of the
> events he saw.
> One or both objects could have been a bright meteoric fireball or
> aircraft. Indeed, the report contains several puzzling and apparently
> contradictory elements and I find it hard to come up with better
> explanations.
> Of course, neither object could have been a comet which, contrary to
> some popular misconceptions, looks and moves nothing like a bright
> meteor or fireball.
> It would be impossible to judge the altitude of an object seen under
> such circumstances, yet we are led to believe that it was 200 miles high
> and that this rules out an aircraft.
> It was moving 5 to 7 times faster than any satellite known so far,
> except possibly the "Colombia" Space Shuttle. Of course, the shuttles
> *are* satellites when in orbit.
> The story about "An astronomist <sic> said that it could have something
> to do with the sun's intense heat basking the aluminum body of the
> satellite, thus 'cooking' the thin upper-atmosphere that the satellite
> may be cruising-in" is pure nonsense.
> Alan
> --
>  Alan Pickup | COSPAR 2707:   55d53m48.7s N   3d11m51.2s W   156m asl
>  Edinburgh   | Home:    +44 (0)131 477 9144
>  Scotland    | SatEvo page:

    Thanks you so much for your reply and I'm sorry to say that when a message is
passed through
    more than one instances something always has to go wrong somewhere, although
I do not blame
    The time on the 29th is pretty close to what was given 18.58 lt and the time
given for the 31st,
    just before midnight is 23.46lt ,14 minutes before midnight of the New Year
and not 23.16lt as
    specified in your email.

    What I meant was that it was moving with such a speed upon re-entry that it
looked very much
    like the Columbia, especially after crossing what we would consider overhead
of Aruba.

    With regards to the pictures taken on the 29th I'm pretty sure Mr. Erwin van
Ballegoij will be
    sending this to you either today still or before Friday, as I just loaned him
the diskettes where
    these are all recorded, and after you study all this with the information
he's gonna supply, then
    advise me of the results.
    Peat was not able to open the pictures I have sent him as these is more than
7 Meg and the
    Internet Communication System in Aruba told me this afternoon that the only
way they could
    reforward these by Internet is if I sent each picture individually.

    Thanks again and best regards,