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Saturday, March 31, 2018

 

Tiangong 1 Falls, will Australia see it?

UPDATE to the UPDATE to the UPDATE: Tiangong 1 came down at 00:16 UT, 10:16 AEST (close to the median predicted time), in the south pacific, somewhere NW of Tahiti.

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.

Forecast image Satview.
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.

image source: ESA/ESOC

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.

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Comments:
I have no idea what 1.9April even means. Perhaps it would be less confusing to use a conventional DTG.
 
the 0.9 is 0.9 0f a UT day (starting from midnight on the UT day. This is fairly common amongst comet obsevers. The latest predictions are for around UT 2 (crossing over the tip of south America) with a small possibility of around 04:00 UT April 2 (Crossing AUtralia).
 
Thanks. right now it seems to be hanging in there.
 
The Chinese government say it is down in the Pacific, but I wonder why the live trackers still have it at 146km altitude as of 0150UTC?
But with 8 eighths overcast here, we were never going to observe it anyway.
 
The "live" trackers aren't, they are just showing predicted positions (which get updated as new information becomes available). They will keep on showing tracks until the official confirmation (which we now have) trickles through (heavens above is still showing a live track).
 
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