Friday, October 14, 2011

Massive X-ray Satellite Set to De-orbit

Source - Space Weather News for Oct. 14, 2011:

ROSAT RE-ENTRY: The ROSAT X-ray observatory, launched in 1990 by NASA and managed for years by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), will return to Earth within the next two weeks. Current best estimates place the re-entry between Oct. 22nd and 24th over an unknown part of Earth. ROSAT will produce a spectacular fireball when it re-enters, but not all of the satellite will disintegrate. According to the DLR, heat-resistant fragments as massive as 1.7 tons could reach Earth's surface. Check for more information.

LAST-CHANCE SIGHTINGS: As ROSAT slowly descends it is growing brighter. During favorable passes, the satellite can now be seen shining as brightly as a first magnitude star in the night sky. Local flyby times may be found using SpaceWeather's Satellite Tracker: . Or turn your smartphone into a ROSAT tracker using our Simple Flybys app: .

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