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POST COLLISION MODELS
IRIDIUM 33 DEBRIS - NORAD 33777, maybe a lost Main Mission Antenna - 2 July 2009
Stefano Sposetti and I have recently observed very bright flashes, even brighter than magnitude -4, from the IRIDIUM 33 Debris 97051Q (NORAD 33777). The high reflectivity of the object may suggest that this debris could be actually a Main Mission Antenna, or a large part of it, that may have been removed from the Iridium satellite during the collision with the COSMOS 2251. Stefano captured with its camera several flashes during the pass on the 23rd of June, and again, on the 26th of June.
Flashes captured by Stefano Sposetti in Switzerland on the 23rd of June.
Flashes captured by Stefano Sposetti in Switzerland on the 26th of June.
The object seems to rotate with a period of about 9 seconds and to flare twice. By using the collected data the rotation axis of the object has been estimated. The preliminary results lead to the flare track showed by the following pictures. However, more observations are necessary to validate the results. If this model was correct, flashes would be visible only when the satellite passes quite close to the zenith.
By Simone Corbellini