Saturday, March 31, 2018
Tiangong 1 Falls, will Australia see it?
UPDATE to the UPDATE: Tiangong 1 now predicted to re-enter today, April 2, between 8:46 am and 1:06 pm AEST, median 10:56 AEST, almost certainly not going to be visible from Australia. Probably Pacific Micronesia to tip of South America.
UPDATE: Tiangong 1 is still in orbit, Refined predictions are ESA 23:25 UTC on 1 April plus or minus seven hours (that is 9:25 ± 7h AEST on April 2). Dr. Marco Langenbrook predicts (Satevo data) 1 April 20:30 UT ± 7h (GMAT data) 1 April 23:08 UT ± 8h (AEST 9:08 ± 8h April 2). Aerospace corporation April 2nd, 02:00 UTC ± 7 hours (12:00 AEST ± 7h April 2). Satview has an unrealistically precise 02 April 04:43 UT (14:43 AEST). This means for Australia, our best chances for seeing re-entry is if the space station re-enters at 14:00 AEST, with the re-entry path along a line from Darwin to Sydney. If it re-enters at 16:00 AEST then the path lies along southern Victoria. Both re-entries are daylight re-entries. Check you local circumstances around these times using Heavens Above set for your location and choose the "all passes" button.
The Chinese Space Station Tiangong 1 is falling to Earth. The latest, predictions suggest that it will re-enter somewhere around April 1 (UT, Australia is 10 hours ahead of UT (east coast), 9.5 hours ahead (central) and 8 hours ahead (west coast)). Dr. Marco Langenbrook predicts that it will come down between 1.9 April +- 17h and 1.7 April +- 15 h with the latter more likely. This article explains why it is so hard to predict.
Where is still hard to say, part of the track goes over Southern Australia, and it is possible Southern Victoria and Tasmania could see the re-entry if it occurs in the early hours of April 1. Heavens above has a live feed of Tiangong 1's track. if you want to keep up with its possible visibility from your site.
But with 8 eighths overcast here, we were never going to observe it anyway.
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