Re: question - brightness of 20638 (ROSAT) + introducing myself

From: Markus Mehring (m.m@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Jun 26 2003 - 07:18:51 EDT

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    On Thu, 26 Jun 2003 11:10:28 +0200, you ("Marco Langbroek"
    <marco.langbroek@wanadoo.nl>) wrote:
    
    >I have a question for this list. We received a 'fireball' report for June
    >24, 21:24 UTC from Alphen a/d Rijn, the Netherlands. After questioning the
    >eyewitness it became apparent that the object was so slow it must have been
    >a satellite. Indeed, the trajectory for satellite # 20638 (ROSAT) perfectly
    >matches the observation both in time and sky trajectory.
    >
    >My question is, if anybody knows what brightness this satellite can attain
    >and if it might show flares of considerable brightness. This because the
    >observer states he saw it attain a magnitude of mag. -6 for a few seconds.
    >Anyone available to confirm this?
    
    ROSAT tends to make fairly bright passes and usually is very easy to
    observe and obvious to identify (a beginner's object, if I may say so). Its
    general layout consist of a fairly compact body (basically the telescope)
    covered by solar panels on top, giving it an overall hexagonal shape:
    http://www.weblab.dlr.de/rbweb/rosat.gif
    http://www.astro.uiuc.edu/~chu/astro496/rosat.jpg
    I guess it's been out of operation for five or six years by now, and thus
    certainly no longer maintaining attitude. It is absolutely possible that
    the flare that you report originated from that fairly large solar panel
    area on its top side. Whether it indeed was precisely a -6 flare might be
    debatable, but ROSAT certainly can produce quite bright flares.
    
    
    CU!	Markus
    
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