Despite the presence of dust from the Sahara, a curious and unusual sighting could be visible from the Island towards the Southeast horizon tonight. “It is a Vega rocket that will take off from French Guiana, in the northeast of South America and due to its trajectory, there is the possibility of being able to see it close to the horizon while ascending into space,” said the Caribbean Astronomy Society (SAC). The 98-foot-tall, Italian-made Vega rocket will attempt to bring a total of 53 satellites into space, the European Space Agency (ESA) reported. Takeoff is scheduled for 9:51 pm today, Saturday, although it is always possible to postpone the launch date, even in the last second, in case of detecting any failure or unfavorable weather conditions.
“Many would think that a rocket is continuously ascending vertically, but in reality it is taking a turn or tilt to locate the satellite or satellites in the desired orbit. This time it will take off in a north-northwest direction, and because French Guiana It is located towards the Southeast of us, it is probable to see it during its ascent if we look towards the Southeast and East horizon between 9:51 pm and 9:58 pm, “said Eddie Irizarry, vice president of the SAC. The launch of the rocket would be carried out by the French aerospace company Arianespace, and among the satellites on board are several observations of the planet and other scientific studies, while others are communications. Some of these are from the European Space Agency, as well as from Argentina, the United States, Canada, Israel, Spain, Slovenia and Thailand, among others.
“To try to see it, it is important to avoid visual obstructions to the southeast and east, since if it turned out to be visible, the rocket would be moving from right to left at little elevation from the horizon as seen from our perspective,” the organization said. He added that if visible, there is likely to be a change in the appearance of the object around 9:55 pm, when the third stage or segment of the rocket will light, while between 9:57 and 9:58 pm, it should the separation of the third stage occurs, causing another change in appearance or the beginning of the dissipation of the wake. The SAC warned that several factors may affect the visibility of the event, which is why it clarified that it is a possible sighting, and not a guaranteed one. “In any case, we suggest taking a look to see if we can actually see it, since it is not very common to see a rocket launch from our area,” he said.