|Rocket motor burn seen towards west of Tromsø right after sunset on Feb 22nd 2018 at 18:12 local time. Most likely from the recently launched PAZ satellite. |
Yesterday I saw a blurry object moving in the sky from south to north. The object was blurry and bright. At first, I assumed it to be an airplane, but I also saw an airplane in the sky, and it's landing lights were not blurry at all, the stars weren't blurry either. Then there was a blurry halo that shot out along the direction of movement. This was a clear signature of rocket motors being fired for a brief moment. Because this is right after sunset, the exhaust from the rocket motor was at a sunlit altitude and therefore scattered sunlight. The motor was clearly fired in a direction opposite of the direction of movement, as if to slow down the velocity.
The most likely explanation is that this is a orbital insertion maneuver for the radar satellite PAZ
, which was launched on February 22nd, 14:17 UTC using a Space X Falcon 9 booster, approximately three hours before I saw the rocket motor burn. The ascending node PAZ is approximately at 18 local time, which is consistent with the observation.
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