Current News

 Doomed spy satellite USA 193 has been in the news lately because of expectations that it will reenter Earth's atmosphere in March and turn into a spectacular fireball. Reentry has not yet begun, but sky watchers are already noticing the satellite as it zips over Europe and the United States. Friedrich Deters sends this movie from LaGrange, North Carolina:

Click to view the complete movie

The clip shows USA 193 rounding the horizon at dawn on Feb. 10th. "This was the first time I could see the decaying spy satellite," says Deters who photographed it using his Canon Rebel XT. "Too bad I couldn't witness it actually entering the atmosphere; looks like it's traveling pretty quick!"

In fact, USA 193 may never reenter--at least not in one piece. Today, the Pentagon announced plans to blast the satellite with a missile before its orbit completely decays. This would lessen the chances of dangerous satellite debris and fuels reaching the ground while increasing the population of space junk in low-Earth orbit.

Would you like to see USA 193 with your own eyes? It is about to make a series of evening appearances over many US towns and cities, beginning this weekend and continuing until the Pentagon intervenes. Flyby timetables may be found at Heavens Above. You can also receive telephone and email alerts when the satellite is about to fly over your backyard by subscribing to Spaceweather PHONE.




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