Astronomers from the Virtual Telescope Project have captured a striking image of the Long March 5b, the Chinese rocket that is out of control and is expected to enter the Earth’s atmosphere between Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 May.
“At the time of the image capture, the rocket stage was about 700 km from our telescope, while the Sun was just a few degrees below the horizon, so the sky was incredibly bright: these conditions made the image quite extreme, but our robotic telescope managed to capture this huge debris, “said Gianluca Masi, an astronomer with the Virtual Telescope Project, at a release picked up by Gizmodo.
“As you can see, at the bottom of the glowing image of the rocket is the typical CCD bloom effect, due to the extreme brightness of the object, “Masi said.
CCD refers to charge coupled devices: integrated circuits used in digital images, explains Gizmodo.
The entire population is aware of the Long March 5B rocket as it returns to the earth’s surface in an uncontrolled way, without knowing where it can impact. At this time orbits the Earth every 90 minutes at a speed of 27,600 km / h and researchers cannot accurately predict the exact place where its remains could collide after atmospheric reentry.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, explained to The Guardian newspaper that “the rocket orbits north at the height of New York, Madrid or Beijing and as far south as Chile or Wellington in New Zealand, with the possibility of making its entry through any of these points “.