Tuesday 7 December 2010

Chang'e 2 booster

Here is a lightcurve derived for 2010-050B which appears to be the booster that helped launch the Chinese Chang'e lunar mission. It was on the NEOCP for a while and looks like it will be visible for a while at least as a NEO-like distant artificial satellite. The lightcurve is from 246 exposures taken on 25 Nov. which shows a 26.89 sec rotation period with an amplitude of about 3.0 mags and I interpret it as representing a generally regular, elongated object, but as the "dark" ends point towards us, one end produces a bright (2+ mag) flash, lasting just 2.6 seconds centered at about phase=0.56 and the other end produces a much fainter flash (<1 mag.) for about the same duration at phase=0.06.
Lightcurve of 2010-050B (the booster for the Chinese Chang'e mission)