UARS Flare Video
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), due to reenter Earth’s atmosphere in a day or two, has been seen and photographed several times recently from the ground as it passed over folks who were watching for it. It has been bright enough to be easily seen and reflective surfaces on the satellite bounce sunlight off of it as it rolls so as to make it flash into one of the brightest objects in the night sky. The following video shows this and allows the viewer to almost imagine what the spacecraft looks like in close up as it tumbles toward its doom.
You can use this satellite tracker on spaceweather.com to place yourself in the right place to see it. I don’t think it will be visible to viewers in North America before it dies, but folks in other parts of the world might get to see it again. Particularly those of you in Australia who might even get to photograph the fireball as it reenters the atmosphere. If you do manage to catch the rentry on film, Space.com will want to talk to you about posting it on their website.
Update: UARS reentered the atmosphere on the night of 9/23/11. Any debris is presumed to have crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Sky watchers along the United States West Coast report not having seen it that night when it was due.
- Doomed NASA Satellite Spotted in Amateur Astronomer Video (space.com)
- UARS Flare Video (bhousley.wordpress.com)
- Fallen Satellite of the Day (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- NASA: UARS Could Still Hit US (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Satellite Falls: Two Unconfirmed Videos (mashable.com)
- UARS Is No More: Bus Sized Satellite Crashes to Earth (pinkbananaworld.com)
- How will space station fall to Earth? (msnbc.msn.com)
- NASA says ‘we may never know’ where runaway satellite crashed (csmonitor.com)
- RIP UARS Satellite (notaboutthenumbers.com)
- Huge UARS Satellite’s Fall From Space Captivates Skywatchers, Sparks Hoaxes (space.com)