Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 5 - Zombiesat Attack! Solar Storm Fries Satellite's Brain‏

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Zombiesat Attack! Solar Storm Fries Satellite's Brain

Analysis by Ian O'Neill
Tue May 4, 2010 04:59 PM ET


What was Nicole saying? Something about the reasons why we should "care about the sun"? Right on cue, my Discovery News colleague has been proven right; it appears that a communications satellite has been hit by a solar storm, killing its ability to talk with Earth. It's now drifting past other geostationary satellites, at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers (22,400 miles), risking interruption of their services.

SLIDE SHOW: What happens when a solar storm hits our atmosphere? A beautiful auroral display erupts, exhibiting the power of the sun's influence on Earth.

In the satellite communication game, there's a name for satellites that go brain dead and start to drift. They're called zombie satellites or "zombiesats." Industry experts are very familiar with zombiesats and know how to deal with them, but that doesn't mean they're not a problem.


Galaxy 15, owned by Intelsat, has been out of communication since April 5 and attempts to send commands to the satellite have failed. The satellite's manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corp. suspect it was the huge solar storm that slammed into our planet in early April that did the damage. Although there's little chance of the satellite bumping into other satellites (it's not that crowded up there, yet), Galaxy 15's situation is "unprecedented" according to industry officials.

As opposed to other zombiesats that just die and drift, Galaxy 15's systems are fully functioning, with its telecommunications payload (the equipment that relays customer's transmissions around the globe) fully "on." And yet the satellite itself refuses to accept commands from Earth.

Yesterday, controllers fired a powerful signal at the satellite in an attempt not to control it, but to switch it off as it is posing a threat to other satellites in its orbital neighborhood.

If Galaxy 15 drifts too close to other satellites, it can steal their signal, thereby interrupting other vendor's services to customers on Earth. That's not too good for business, hence the increasingly desperate attempts to "kill" the satellite's power.

There are dozens of zombiesats trapped in geostationary orbit, but they all tend to drift toward two points: 105 degrees west and 75 degrees east. These are locations where the slight irregularities around the Earth's equator exert a slightly altered distribution of gravitational calm; they are the equivalent of gravitational "valleys." And it is to one of these valleys that Galaxy 15 is currently heading.

So it would appear that the sun claims another high-tech victim, emphasizing the importance of missions such as NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and improved space weather prediction methods. After all, there's a huge investment orbiting above our heads.

Images: An artist's impression of a solar storm (NASA/SDO), the Galaxy 15 satellite before launch in 2005 (Orbital Sciences).

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:

Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:

Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.



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