posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 08:02 PM
reply to post by spikester
Very good catch!
I plugged the location and time information into Heavens-Above
Sure enough, the third stage of a Chinese rocket booster passed over your position between 6:12am and 6:15am this morning and was 1st magnitude
CZ-3 Stage 3 - Information
Identification USSPACECOM Catalog No.: 20474
International Designation Code: 1990-011-B
Satellite Details Orbit: 241 x 29,136 km, 30.0°
Category: Rocket Body
Country/Org. of Origin: PRC
Intrinsic brightness (Mag): 3.7 (at 1000km distance, 50% illuminated)
Maximum brightness (Mag): -2.5 (at perigee, 100% illuminated)
Launch Date (UTC): February 4, 1990
The important thing to notice is that it's in a highly elliptical orbit: 241 x 29,136 km.
As you said, objects in [mostly circular] low Earth orbit move at around 17,000 mph, and can stay in view for up to 10 minutes. When you saw it, this
thing was close to perigee and moving much
faster (I'll have to do some math to see how fast). It only stayed in view for 3 minutes.
Awesome! I wish I could see that...