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  • Ville Puoskari

Godspeed, JUICE!

April 14th around 12.15 UTC Ariane 5 -rocket launched from French Guiana, it's payload was Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer or in short, JUICE. Nine hours later I pointed my telescope towards the spacecraft and to my delight it was an easy catch! From the first 30 second test exposures I spotted a fast moving trailing object and as I shortened the exposure time to 10s I got it to appear as a point of light. Upon further inspection the coordinates matched the spacecraft and I also caught the last stage of the rocket booster flying behind JUICE. On the time of the imaging their distance from my observatory was already a staggering ~125 000km! On the video below JUICE is the point of light on the right and Ariane 5 is just behind it on the left. This was a refreshing short observation between my deep sky astrophotography sessions - just in time before annual summer break from imaging that begins in a couple of weeks from now.

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