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Another Bad Astronomy debunkening.

Time lapse: Chinese rocket caught on video

Contributed by
Jan 16, 2012, 7:00 AM EST

Not that any time lapse video of the Very Large Telescope complex at Paranal in Chile would be normal, but this one by Farid Char caught something pretty unusual: what appears to be a Chinese rocket boosting a satellite to orbit!

Did you catch it? From 14 - 18 seconds in, you can see it as a bright object moving against the setting stars to the west. If you pause the video, you can see what look like two plumes of gas coming from the object (though I wonder; a cone-shaped plume might look like this too seen from the side due to limb-brightening). Given the time, it was most likely the Chinese satellite FengYun 2-F moving into its transfer orbit (or possibly just venting some fuel), and it will slowly boost itself to a final geosynchronous orbit over the next few weeks.

These time lapse videos are always pretty cool, but they're even better when they get a surprise like this!

Tip o' the lens cap to eundas on Twitter.

Related posts:

- Time lapse: The Aurora
- Time lapse: The spectacle of Comet Lovejoy
- Time lapse video: ISS cometrise
- Lunar eclipse time lapse