Talk:Burning debris from satellites spotted over several US cities

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Not Iridium[edit]

It is not representative of the facts as known to attribute the source of the debris over Texas to the Iridium 33 collision.

  • Although FAA spokesman Roland Herwig initially said the debris was likely from satellites, this was never confirmed. Indeed, he clarifies: "The notice to airmen says we suspect, we don't know, that this debris is from the two satellites that collided last week." Furthermore, the provenance of even this is suspect: 'He said he was not certain where the information that sparked the FAA notification came from, but it was "probably from NORAD," or the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which tracks man-made objects in space. Calls to NORAD headquarters in Colorado were not immediately returned.'
  • This article already cites Dr Marco Ciocca saying that this event is too soon to be from the Iridium collision. Paul Lewis of the University of Tennessee Space Outreach Center makes the same argument about a similar event over Tennessee on the 14th. So does Dr Phil Plait; while that link points to Dr Plait's blog (for Discover Magazine), he's also a PhD in astronomy who's written a book which in part deals with this. I agree with the reasoning as I understand it; consider in particular this description of the debris clouds: most of the material continues mostly along the orbits of the satellites.

So with the government report of satellite debris based on uncertain information and not pointing toward Iridium; and with scientific consensus agreeing that the debris is almost certainly not from Iridium; it is inaccurate to say that the facts point toward the Iridium collision being the source of the fireball. It could have been another satellite; in light of Dr Plait's argument regarding the relative velocities of orbiting matter, though, as well as the sightings of events in Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and now Massachusetts, I'm inclined to think that the overwhelming probability is that this was a particularly large chunk of space rock. --Killing Vector (talk) 02:52, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

It seems like other experts agree that this is likely not from the satelite. Should we correct/update the article? JoshuaZ (talk) 03:26, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

There are warnings, alerts that say there is debris. Since Feb. 13. I don't know how much clearer that can be honestly. There is also a good report from the Union of Concerned Scientists; Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions - The debris cloud created by this week’s collision, which took place at an altitude of 500 miles (800 kilometers), is akin to a shotgun blast that threatens other satellites in the region.
The two satellites were both orbiting Earth at a speed of nearly 17,000 miles per hour (7.5 km/s), and they collided at a speed of more than 22,000 mph (10 km/s). If the two satellites hit head-on, rather than a glancing blow, the energy of the collision would completely disintegrate both satellites into clouds of debris. Within 24 hours of the collision, the U.S. space tracking system had identified 600 pieces of debris. This large number suggests that the collision must have been relatively head-on. More debris is expected to be identified in the coming days and weeks. DragonFire1024 (Talk to the Dragon) 03:36, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
They have some nice charts and such to go along with their report, including diagrams of the debris could. DragonFire1024 (Talk to the Dragon) 03:37, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
You're conflating two different things. The collision produced debris; nobody disagrees with that. But, whatever burned up over Texas, whether satellite debris or space rock, wasn't the same debris as the collision debris. --Killing Vector (talk) 12:52, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

dead links?[edit]

yields no page and google does not find it. Could this NOAA report be intended? 84user (talk) 03:56, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes. Though the 'dead link' link works for some people, and not for others. Will change it though. DragonFire1024 (Talk to the Dragon) 12:54, 16 February 2009 (UTC)