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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 17, 2007 2:46:24 GMT -6
IRANIAN MYSTERY SPACE CLOUD
On June 15th, sky watchers around Iran witnessed a strange and luminous cloud in the night sky. "I have never experienced a similar phenomena," reports veteran astronomer Babak A. Tafreshi of Tehran. Observing alongside two other astronomers, Oshin Zakarian and Pouria Nazemi, he took this picture:
"The object started out patchy, shapeless and dim; it quickly brightened and formed a blue-tinted cone with a nose of magnitude -2 or -3," he says. The cloud raced across the sky "moving about 20 degrees per minute." More images:
"It was shining blue and moving fast," agrees Amir Hossein Abolfath, another witness from Tehran, who snapped this picture (http://tinyurl.com/2989e8) "Twenty minutes after I saw it, my friend Asghar Kabiri saw the same cloud 900 km away from Tehran in Sa'adat shahr."
The cloud resembles the explosion of a partially-fueled Russian Briz-M rocket booster over Australia in February 2007. Likewise, this could be the re-entry and explosion of a derelict rocket, or it may be related to the June 15th launch of an Atlas rocket (http://spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av009/status.html) from Cape Canaveral.
If you look closely, there is a satellite streak just below the space cloud. Accident, or something intentional?