What is that blob in the sky?
It all started when Douglas Austen sent me these photos taken from Hay NSW at 4:41am local time on 29th March 2018 looking South East.
This glow was just a few degrees above the horizon and as Douglas said: “was there until sunrise but slowly fading. Originally the cloud around it seem to be expanding. "
Douglas suspected a Russian satellite… close but not quite.
I sent the picture to the astronomical community trying to rule out any natural atmospheric phenomena. I didn’t get a respond until recently when Photo by Paul Russell was shared through @IceInSpace suggesting that “the 2nd stage (or perhaps even 3rd?) of United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe” made me realise that the images are very similar. I sent the picture to Paul Camilleri, one of our team members to analyse the pictures who later identified it with the help of Dr Marco Langbroek - SatTrackCam Leiden, the Netherlands.
that it was a CZ3-B rocket third stage (NORAD #43247, COSPAR 2018-029C) with the payload where the upper stage at that time had not yet separated.
Just under an hour earlier, on 29 March 17:56 UT, China launched two navigation satellites, Beidou 3M7 and 3M8, with a Long March (CZ) 3B rocket from Xichang space centre.
More detail can be found here