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Czech astronomer photographs Musk's electric car in orbit

6 March 2018

Prague, March 5 (CTK) - Czech astronomer Martin Masek has managed to take a picture of U.S. Elon Musk's Tesla electric car in the orbit for which he has won the Czech Astronomy Photo of the Month award for February 2018, Czech Astronomical Society deputy head Pavel Suchan has announced.

The winning photography was dubbed "Tesla among the Stars."

Masek's observation has also helped spread the information on the position and speed of this distant satellite.

Tesla was brought into the orbit by the Falcon Heavy rocket that was launched from the Cape Canaveral in Florida on February 6.

Masek took the picture of it four days later with the aid of the FRAM robotic telescope, which is a part of the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. The observatory is designed to detect ultra-high-energy cosmic rays.

At the time of photographing, Tesla could be observed in the Hydra constellation away from 1,056,400 kilometres of the Earth.

Masek analysed its light curve and based on the changes in brightness, he calculated the rotation at for minutes and 45 seconds. He sent the measurements to the Minor Planet Center, gathering data on distant satellites and specifying their trajectory in the solar system.

The Czech Astronomy Photography of the Month has been announced since 2005 as an equivalent of the international competition Astronomy Picture of the Day. Both professional astronomers and amateurs can take part in it.

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