Photos of Milstar 5 Centaur's "comet"

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 03:47:54 EST

  • Next message: Alan Pickup: "Decay watch: 2002 January 18"

    I have put online a couple of Rick Baldridge's photos of the 
    "comet" produced by the venting of the Milstar 5 Centaur's 
    excess propellant after spacecraft separation.  Thanks Rick!  
    Now quoting Rick:
    > These were made by stacking 6 frame-grabbed images from a 
    > Hi-8 video taken with a homemade set-up and a 2nd-Generation 
    > image intensifier tube.  Unfortunately, the image tube is a 
    > "second" and has some burn-spots (but it was alot cheaper at 
    > $300!) 
    > In both images, Zenith is approximately UP.  
    > Taken from N37.262 W121.977.
    The picture at 
    (about 160K) was 
    > taken with a 400mm lens with the field cropped to about 2 
    > degrees wide.  I believe the time was about 7:43 U.T....
    That one gives a pretty good sense of the shape and 
    orientation of the plume at that time.
    The picture at 
    (about 176K) was 
    >taken with a 50mm lens and is annotated.  Please forgive 
    >the corner of my roof in the lower left of the image!
    That one gives a sense of where in the sky the plume was
    at about 7:31 Jan 16 UTC.  With my 10x50 binoculars I was
    able to watch it as Alphard (alphy HYA) passes to the 
    south of it, although by then it wasn't very bright.
    Rick also made a brief high-resolution MPEG file that I 
    plan to put online later today.
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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