During processing a strange signal was found in a frame combined from 100 images. It turns out that in one image of this stack we have what appears to be a meteor or a satellite flash – or something:
The image is from Jan 17 2012: (UTC 2012-01-17T13:28:48). The exposure time was 0.009 seconds! The trail is about 3/4 of the lunar diameter in length – i.e. about 22 arc minutes. The orientation is such that it is travelling almost Due North (or South!).
What is it? Well – it is clearly between us and the Moon! If it is a meteor its height would be something like 50-100 km. The speed would then be 35 – 70 km/s. A satellite in low earth orbit has speed 8 km/s. Since the image is taken from Hawaii at UTC 13:28 it is near midnight on Hawaii – i.e. the Sun is behind the Earth and unlikely to be illuminating a LEO satellite.
An airplane flies at 800 km/hr at altitude 10 km, so the distance covered in 0.009 s is 2 m which would subtend an angle of 1 arc minute. This is no airplane – or it is much closer, in which case we should see details of the plane.
As far as I can tell there is no pronounced peak in meteorite activity in January.
Small note: The ‘meteor’ is travelling N-S or S-N
WOW!great stuff!We had quite a few satellite trails and a few asteroid trails through our HST data — where we took thousands of frames covering a mere 4 square arc minutes.Our field of view is enormous but our aperture is small, so probably we wouldn’t see anything new, but worth keeping an eye on!Chris