Posted by davidjbod on April 12, 2011
Tonight the Hubble Space Telescope made a relatively bright, mag 1.9 pass from 20:03 to 20:11 in the southern sky.
Here it is rising heading from west to east (right to left in the pictures)
Here’s a picture from a few seconds later. Upon reviewing it afterwards, I noticed a streak in the upper left hand corner of the image. I’ve photoshopped it some to bring it out in the picture below.
Here is a 100% crop of it. I went back to Heavens Above and found out it was “Cosmos 1898 Rocket”. A little further research reveals that this is a rocket body from a Kosmos-3M which was used to launch a communications satellite. A lucky catch.
As I had just set the camera down from moving it, the HST flared up by a couple magnitudes probably due to the solar panels reflecting the sun at just the right angle. I clicked the shutter as fast as I could and caught some of it. In the picture below, you can see the flare fading away. You can tell this because the track is “fatter” on the right and then thins out as it goes to the left.
Another picture of it about 30 seconds before it faded away.
I had really hoped to see some bright X-37 passes from the last couple of days but we were socked in with clouds. This turned out to be a good pass though and I’m glad I caught it.