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Stranded Mars Probe Phobos-Grunt Image 2011/11/29(UT)
Ralf Vandebergh(250mm Newton)|
Pass was 56 degrees elevation and captured from the South of the Netherlands. This was the first favorable pass in the
European observing window and it was clear the whole day, but clouds rolled in fast in the evening hours. I just could capture
the pass a few minutes before it got totally clouded! The pass was early in the twilight, and for this reason I missed the first
(lower pass) the observing window a day earlier. This time, the probe passes close along the star Altair, so I had the luck to
orientate on a point to pick up the spacecraft. Angular speed was, as expected, very high.
It was bright in my trackingscope, I think it was clearly visible naked-eye as well with sun at -6 degrees.
Striking was a kind of reddish-yellowish color I saw in the tracking scope. The sky was very clear.
The probe appeard stable with no visible flashes.
Here is another Phobos-Grunt result from my Nov 29 observing session, taken 5 seconds preceding the image used in the ESA press release
[Ralf Vandebergh:Neighbourhood of Maastricht Netherlands]