Doomed ROSAT captured in video

Contributed by
Oct 20, 2011
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I actually kinda half-expected this would happen: the fantastic "amateur" astronomer Thierry Legault was able to observe and get video of the astronomical satellite ROSAT as it's making its final orbits around the Earth:

He also observed it on October 16th, but I think the video above from late September shows it better.

To show you how good this is, I took an image he provided of stills from his video and added a drawing of the satellite below them:

Amazingly, in Thierry's images you can clearly see the boom extending from the satellite's main body (at the bottom of the photos, and off to the left in the drawing). That boom holds a magnetometer (to measure the Earth's magnetic field) and an antenna used to communicate with Earth. From what I can tell, the boom is about 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) in length. In that September image, ROSAT was over 450 km (270 miles) away from Thierry when he took it!

Current models predict ROSAT will plunge to Earth on October 23rd, sometime around 11:00 UTC (7:00 a.m. Eastern US time). Follow ROSAT_reentry on Twitter for the latest info.

Related posts:

- YouTube video where I explain a satellite re-entry
- BREAKING: SpySat successfully hit by missile
- Atlantis, one last time in the Sun
- SERIOUSLY jaw-dropping pictures of Endeavour and the ISS!