Space Weather News for Nov. 1, 2008
More than a year ago, in July 2007, International Space Station astronauts threw an obsolete, refrigerator-sized ammonia reservoir overboard.
Ever since, the 1400-lb piece of space junk has been circling Earth in a decaying orbit--and now it is about to reenter.
If predictions are correct, the "Early Ammonia Servicer" (EAS for short) will turn into a brilliant fireball as it disintegrates in Earth's atmosphere during the early hours of Monday, Nov. 3rd.
Uncertainties in the exact reentry time are so great (plus or minus 15 hours at the time of this alert) that it is impossible to pinpoint where the fireball will appear.
At the moment, every continent except Antarctica has some favorable ground tracks.
Readers should check our Satellite Tracker (http://spaceweather.com/flybys/) for possible overflights.
Before reentry, the EAS will seem about as bright as a 2nd or 3rd magnitude star, similar to the stars of the Big Dipper.
During re-entry, the disintegrating reservoir could light up like a full Moon.
Flyby predictions should be regarded as approximate because the orbital elements of the EAS are now changing so rapidly.
Updates will be posted on http://spaceweather.com.