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Dyatlov pass incident
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Human_84Offline
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PostPosted: 17-02-2014 16:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies if this was already discussed but it's easy to forget the details when the conversation spans over a period of months. Why is it generally understood that the 'event' took place during the night?

Is it only because of the flashlights, the tent location, and the journal log?
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 17-02-2014 17:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

Human_84 wrote:
Apologies if this was already discussed but it's easy to forget the details when the conversation spans over a period of months. Why is it generally understood that the 'event' took place during the night?

Is it only because of the flashlights, the tent location, and the journal log?


That's an excellent question, and it's one of the points in the 'canonical' interpretation of the incident that I've been critically re-evaluating over the years.

Here are some of the items that (IMHO) contributed to the notion everything happened all at once during the night between 1 and 2 February:

- The series of photographs ends with 2 shots of the party topping the pass, 2 shots of some party members digging a place for the tent; and the anomalous '33rd frame'. Based on the diary entries and an analysis of the digging photos, the snow digging occurred circa 1700 on 1 February.

- The diary entries end with notes concerning the trek up onto the pass on 1 February.

- The ill-clothed state of 7 out of the 9 bodies has always been taken to mean at least those 7 people were partially undressed for sleeping.

- The fact (at least) 7 of the party left the tent ill-clothed has been assumed to mean they fled in a hurry while (de-)clothed for sleeping, and this must have been during the night.

- The investigation concluded all 9 died circa 6 to 8 hours after last ingesting food. This has always been taken to mean they all died 6 - 8 hours after the last documented meal (a cold dinner on the evening of 1 February).

- The fact that one flashlight was found perched atop the tent (near the front / entrance end) and another flashlight was found down in the valley.

- The anomalous sky light(s) / UFO hypotheses (motivated in large part by investigator Ivanov's 1990's article) are all framed with regard to lights or objects seen at night. The suggestive claims of historical sightings in the area - including one or two sightings alleged around the time of 1 February - are all described in terms of nighttime observations.

- The single 'main path' of footprints found across the first 500m stretch down-slope from the tent suggests the party stayed together and walked carefully, and this is consistent with a nighttime descent.
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PostPosted: 17-02-2014 17:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now here are some things to consider as to whether these items are necessarily suggestive of an all-in-one / all-at-once / all-at-night scenario:

EnolaGaia wrote:

- The series of photographs ends with 2 shots of the party topping the pass, 2 shots of some party members digging a place for the tent; and the anomalous '33rd frame'. Based on the diary entries and an analysis of the digging photos, the snow digging occurred circa 1700 on 1 February.


This only means nobody bothered to take any photos after they'd made camp late on the 1st.


EnolaGaia wrote:

- The diary entries end with notes concerning the trek up onto the pass on 1 February.


This only means nobody bothered to make any notes after they'd made camp late on the 1st.


EnolaGaia wrote:

- The ill-clothed state of 7 out of the 9 bodies has always been taken to mean at least those 7 people were partially undressed for sleeping.


This, at least, is a fair assumption. However ...


EnolaGaia wrote:

- The fact (at least) 7 of the party left the tent ill-clothed has been assumed to mean they fled in a hurry while (de-)clothed for sleeping, and this must have been during the night.


This bit extends the reasonable presumption they'd de-clothed for sleeping to imply 'the event' happened relatively soon after settling in. I don't see why this extended inference should be treated as anything more than speculation. For example, they would still have been partially de-clothed upon awaking the next morning to find themselves snowbound.


EnolaGaia wrote:

- The investigation concluded all 9 died circa 6 to 8 hours after last ingesting food. This has always been taken to mean they all died 6 - 8 hours after the last documented meal (a cold dinner on the evening of 1 February).


The text evidence indicates there was a meal on the evening of 1 February. Then the diary entries end. Partaking of food doesn't have to end just because the diary entries ended.


EnolaGaia wrote:

- The fact that one flashlight was found perched atop the tent (near the front / entrance end) and another flashlight was found down in the valley.


As I noted earlier, earlier photos demonstrate one of the people found dead down in the valley (Zolotarev) had consistently carried a flashlight clipped to the outside of his parka. He was one of the well-clothed ones, and was found wearing the parka to which he'd previously always attached a flashlight. My point is that there's reason to speculate Z carried his flashlight into the valley because it was already attached to his parka - not because it was dark.

(NOTE: There are still issues and questions about the flashlights - e.g., whose flashlights were found outside the tent; why the one found in the valley was drained in the 'on' position; whether this was Z's flashlight; etc.)


EnolaGaia wrote:

- The anomalous sky light(s) / UFO hypotheses (motivated in large part by investigator Ivanov's 1990's article) are all framed with regard to lights or objects seen at night. The suggestive claims of historical sightings in the area - including one or two sightings alleged around the time of 1 February - are all described in terms of nighttime observations.


These are all peripheral / post-hoc overlays onto the basic storyline, and have no necessary bearing on determining the fine-grained timeframe of the party's actions.


EnolaGaia wrote:

- The single 'main path' of footprints found across the first 500m stretch down-slope from the tent suggests the party stayed together and walked carefully, and this is consistent with a nighttime descent.


They could have descended leaving the same sort of footprint evidence the following day.
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PostPosted: 22-02-2014 00:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

The silence is deafening ... Embarassed

... But that's never deterred me before ... Twisted Evil


I've been digging into some salvaged archives as well as some Russian sites looking for additional documentation. The last few days' efforts have concentrated on three aspects of the Dyatlov Pass folklore:

- Mystery lights in the sky around 1 February 1959
- The weather conditions around that same time
- The frequent but vague allusions to a mysterious 'geology / survey team' having observed mysterious light(s) in the vicinity around the time the Dyatlov party perished.

I'd like to start with the 3rd item - the mystery party that allegedly observed mystery light(s) in the sky around the 1st of February.

In years past, the most common references to this party claimed:

- they were some sort of geological or survey team working in the Urals.

- they were positioned south of the Dyatlov Pass area on the night of February 1 - 2, 1959.

- they were no less than 50 km from the pass, and probably (based on the majority of specific mentions) on the order of 70 - 75 km away.

- they observed a light or lights to the north in the direction of the fatal mountain (or Mount Otorten, which lies circa 10 km farther north).

- their experience was not reported until some later date, after becoming aware a party had been lost in that area around that time.

I'd never seen any specifics on this group (names, etc.), and I'd always been a bit suspicious that their post hoc report may not be all that relevant (especially in terms of the exact timeframe).

In more recent years commentators have referred to a party on Mount Chistop on 2 February 1959. Mount Chistop is an isolated massif located circa 35 km southeast of the fatal mountain and east of the main Ural ridge(s). This party was led by an Anatoliy Shumkov, included geology _students_ from the Polytechnic (same institution as most all the Dyatlov party), and reported seeing a mysterious light phenomenon over the Urals on the night of 2 February (the night _after_ the Dyatlov party pitched camp on the side of the fatal mountain).

The Shumkov group seems to fit the vague descriptions for the mystery group.

However:

- they never claimed to have seen any light(s) on the night of 1 - 2 February.

- they were only half as far away as most specifically claimed for the mystery group.

- they were southeast of the fatal mountain rather than somewhere to the south among the main Ural ridges.

As such, I have to be careful in claiming the Shumkov group was in fact the mystery group cited in many of the speculative presentations on the incident.

I believe the Shumkov group was in fact the mystery group. L. Ivanov was an original investigator of the Dyatlov incident in 1959. 40 years later (1999) he ignited much of the story's resurgence when he published an article claiming he'd concluded the key to the incident was some sort of mystery light / UFO event. In that article Ivanov refers to multiple sightings in the vicinity. One of these he described as, " ... on February 2 students tourists geological faculty Pedagogical Institute."

Now here's the more interesting news ...

While rummaging through someone's file directories located on the other side of the planet ( Twisted Evil Bwaha-ha-ha- ... ) I ran across a document I don't think I'd seen before. It's a statement from Anatoliy Shumkov himself, dated February 1999, concerning what his group experienced around 2 February (day following the Dyatlov group's last encampment).

After some laborious translation and editorial work, I've generated an English version of the most relevant bits (to be posted next).

Shumkov's statement provides some particulars not only supporting his band as the 'mystery group', but also on the other two factors I'd been pursuing (mystery lights in the sky and weather conditions).
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PostPosted: 22-02-2014 00:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following is a statement or affidavit from Anatoliy Shumkov, dated February 1999.
==========================

Notes About this Translation:

The sentences from the text have been strung out onto separate lines.

Items enclosed in square brackets represent my modifications (via rearrangement or rephrasing) to the raw Google translation output (which was a tangle of textual carnage).

For the record ... I studied Russian for two years over 40 years ago. I've long since forgotten enough to render me useless at realtime reading or speaking, but I am still familiar enough with the alphabet, declensions, and other syntactic factors to untangle the 'carnage' induced by cursory translations.

Items denoted with 'NOTE:' are my comments on the passage immediately preceding.

==========================

The second in February 1959 .

[With lunch strong whitening.]

NOTE: Cursory translation would be "With lunch strong chalk". The word for "chalk" has secondary usages relating to 'whiteness' or 'whitening'. My interpretation is that this was a casual phrasing meant to connote snowfall or white-out conditions.


Wind increased and [for 3 hours; after 3 hours; circa 3:00 pm] already blew with such force that it could [knock or lay one down]

NOTE: There's no question there's a reference to '3 hours' here, but it's apparently phrased in some colloquial manner that obscures the exact connotation.


We descended the mountain Chistop , 1292m in forest area at dusk .

NOTE: This party was atop Mount Chistop (an isolated massif circa 35 km southeast of the pass). Chistop's peak elevation is 1292m. The peak elevation at the pass's mountain is 1079m. This passage appears to indicate the Shumkov group descended at least as far as the timberline, if not lower. The timberline, as a naturally induced boundary, is usually pretty uniform in elevation. Dyatlov's group was at least 200m above the timberline - i.e., completely exposed and subject to temperatures at least as low, if not lower, than the Shumkov group reports.


We - a group of students 2-4 courses geological faculty Sverdlovsk [Pedagogical Institute] .

[The group was led by this author] (i.e., Shumkov)

At night Sushnyak procured, built a fire, cooked dinner.

By 7 o'clock the wind almost [the reverse].

NOTE: The last word in the Russian text would literally mean a verse or line of poetry. I suppose there's a chance it was a colloquial way of saying the wind became light and pleasant. However, the same word has secondary usage to mean 'opposite / contra / reversed', and I suspect the intent was to say the wind reversed direction as it died down.


[Became unusually quiet after hours of howling wind.]

Much colder.

By 9 pm someone looked at the thermometer, said: "Alcohol in a balloon."

The temperature was below 53 degrees.

NOTE: I take this to mean the thermometer's fluid had contracted all the way into its reservoir / bulb, and this meant the temperature was somewhere below the -53 C minimum reading the thermometer could register.

...

NOTE: Speculative comments about what the Dyatlov party may have been doing at the pass omitted, because they simply recant the canonical version of the theorized storyline (event - panic - fleeing tent). The comments conclude by referring to a 'this' or 'it' from which the author speculates the Dyatlov party could have fled. The author then turns to this 'it' ...

...


["It" - low speed, silently flew from south to north over the Ural Mountains. ]

[A shine / shining, quite bright.]

[Unusual lights were flying low beneath clouds at a height of 2.5 - 3 km]

NOTE: This passage can be interpreted multiple ways. I've chosen this one for consistency with the comment (later; below) about the light leaving an afterglow / reflection ("light footprint") on low clouds.


Mikhail Vladimirov of our group said, "That would [make] a picture."

[At a frosty / cold -50 degrees, Shubenkov tried to take snapshot(s)]

NOTE: At face value (and with faith in Google) this could be interpreted as either: (a) "It was frosty / cold at -50 C, and Shubenkov tried to leave ('take off')."; or (b) "Shubenkov tried to remove ('take off') frost at -50 degrees" (i.e., a joking or sarcastic aside). However, the root form of the word Google translates as 'take off' is also the basis for a longer noun meaning 'snapshot'. The word appearing in the Cyrillic text appears to be a plural noun-form rather than a verb declension, so my guess is that it was intended as 'snaps' (i.e., a colloquial abbreviated term for 'snapshots'). This interpretation follows a lot more naturally from the comment Vladimirov made.

["It" flew over the mountains to the west for 15-17 kilometers , not descending , and disappeared over the horizon, leaving a light footprint on the low cloud. ]

And we are left to while away this frosty night by the campfire . Nobody slept , or rather could not sleep.

...

NOTE: Once again, speculative comments about what the Dyatlov party may have been doing at the pass are omitted, because they simply recount one hypothetical interpretation of how they died.
Then Shumkov continues with something he said about the Dyatlov group nobody ever bothers to quote from his affidavit ...

...


[The group's main mistake was organizing (planning) an overnight stay above the timberline.]

Our fire was burning all night.

The group survived because the fire and of the persistence with which [we pounded (slapped; poked) each other to prevent anyone trying to sleep from sleeping.]

After spending the night was quiet, sunny and very cold day . After 15 hours, " Run" to ski down ...
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PostPosted: 22-02-2014 03:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

I invested effort in generating a reasonable translation of the Shumkov statement, because I believe it's perhaps the most informative and reliable evidence for the mysterious 'Event X' that directly or indirectly caused the Dyatlov party to perish ...

... And it's got nothing to do with the mystery light(s) the Shumkov party observed on the night of 2 - 3 February.

I say this because I believe the Dyatlov party was already dead by the time the mystery light amazed the Shumkov group.

There are two focal issues addressed in Shumkov's report (as condensed above): (a) the mystery light(s); and (b) the weather conditions.

The myriad sensationalized accounts of the incident have no problem emphasizing (a), but never seem to include mention of (b). This is not surprising, because aliens (or yetis, the CIA, etc.) draw a lot more interest than the real culprit - Old Man Winter.

I suggest the Dyatlov party ascended the pass late on 1 February only to walk head-on into the blast of Arctic hell Shumkov's group barely escaped the following day - similarly high on a mountain above the timberline, only 35 km away to the southeast.

This would seem to suggest that this suddenly vicious Arctic onslaught hit the Dyatlov party earlier - i.e., that it moved in from the north and / or west.

There's evidence to support just such a scenario ...
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PostPosted: 22-02-2014 04:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

The German weather site Wetterzentrale ( www.wetterzentrale.de ) offers interactive generation of daily barometric and temperature maps for continental Europe. These are derived from historical weather data, and yes - the retrospective horizon extends back to 1959 (and beyond).

I obtained temperature maps for the last encampment day (1 February), two days earlier, and two days afterward.

What I found was a sequence of temperature conditions and distributions indicating the severe cold the Shumkov group reported was indeed associated with an incursion from the north and west.

Below is a composite image I assembled from the Wetterzentrale results:

- showing the sequence of temperature distributions from 30 January through 3 February

- marked with a purple circle to show the location of Dyatlov Pass on each of the sub-images (to the right of center).

It must be borne in mind that:

- the maps are generated for 0000 hours Z; local time on the scene was 4 hours faster (Z + 4).

- the temperatures noted on the maps are derived from weather station reports

- in that area of the Urals, there were few reporting stations in 1959

- none of the stations for which 1959 data is available from the US National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) were less than circa 70 - 80 km from the pass

- all these stations were at much lower elevations - typically on rivers in the lowlands. For example, Njaksimvol (northeast of the mountains) has a listed altitude of only 51m, and Ivdel (to the south; through which the Dyatlov party passed) has a listed altitude of only 94m.

- the historical temperatures attributed on the maps therefore don't reflect the even colder conditions up on the mountains.

Indeed, the minimum temperatures NCDC data indicates for the nearest weather stations are all _even lower_ than the maps indicate.

I'll let the images do the talking now ...

http://www.enolagaia.com/DPI-TempMaps3101-0302.jpg
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PostPosted: 22-02-2014 16:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

TL:DR

Can we have a summary please?
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 22-02-2014 18:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

31 January:

Dyatlov group intends to transit pass and establish their cache. Strong "warm" (their term) winds force them to backtrack into the valley through which they'd approached.

1 February:

They spend most of the day building a cache where they camped (not where they'd planned). Temperatures are still within the range they'd experienced thus far. They don't move on until 1500 local time and ascend the pass, only to find strong winds and failing light at circa 1700.

They hastily pitch camp, and don't set up their stove.

What they didn't expect ... Between 0400 local time 1 February and 0400 2 February a 'tongue' of much colder air extends southward to envelope them. Not much further along the tongue's path - 35 km away at similar elevation - the Shumkov group reports temperatures plummeted into the -50 C range.

Implication consistent with the evidence: The 'Event X' that panicked the Dyatlov group was (e.g.) waking up to find themselves already half-frozen to death by an Arctic blast they hadn't seen coming.
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PostPosted: 22-02-2014 18:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

EnolaGaia wrote:
Implication consistent with the evidence: The 'Event X' that panicked the Dyatlov group was (e.g.) waking up to find themselves already half-frozen to death by an Arctic blast they hadn't seen coming.


I think this might be the best explanation so far.

They were massively unprepared.
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PostPosted: 22-02-2014 22:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for the record ...

I don't think they were 'unprepared' so much as 'situationally overwhelmed'.

For that time, place, and context (private sporting activities) they were as well prepared as one might expect. None of these people were 'first-timers', and some of them were using this trip to qualify for upper level certifications to conduct such expeditions. All of them had winter backcountry experience. Both women (Dubinina and Kolmogorova) had previously earned reputations for fortitude by stolidly coming out of the wilderness with significant injuries.

If anything, their experience and reputations helped seal their fate.

The main reason search actions weren't undertaken as soon as they failed to report back via telegram on 12 February was the assumption they knew what they were doing and simply must have been delayed.

The searches started at their farthest planned location (Mount Otorten) on the presumption they'd surely have reached their objective.

The student volunteers who initially found the tent site (i.e., the searchers who knew the missing persons best) raised a toast that night in the belief the party would still be found alive. (Tensions broke out when a local participant opined the toast should be raised for the dead.)

Once I found and reviewed the Shumkov statement I couldn't help but wonder, "If the weather during that 24 - 48 hour period nearly overwhelmed the group at Chistop, why didn't anyone get alarmed that Dyatlov & Co. were still out there?"

All indications are that no one doubted Dyatlov and his friends when it came to winter trekking.

Of course, by modern standards their equipment was crude - heavy natural-fiber clothing, bamboo ski poles, heavy homemade canvas tent and stove apparatus, blankets and tarps rather than sleeping bags, etc. This doesn't mean they weren't reasonably prepared; it only means their best preparations provided a less generous 'range of survivable conditions' than modern high-tech equipment affords.

They were not making as much progress as planned. They decided to forego using the stove. They had to turn back on their first attempt at the pass. To avoid falling farther behind they accepted the heightened risks of marching on, only to be ambushed by the weather.

(When one thinks about it this way, it's the Donner Party all over again ...)

As I believe I've said before in this thread - I don't fault them for being out there; I do blame them for the decisions they apparently made.
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PostPosted: 23-02-2014 18:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now about the mystery light(s) / fireball(s) ...

In his 1999 article, 1959 Dyatlov incident investigator Ivanov revealed that he'd theorized the party's demise had been related to UFO's, based on reports of lights or fireballs in the area.

Ivanov was clear that his allusions to UFO's were not meant to connote extraterrestial spacecraft. This is sufficiently evident from the raw Google translation:

Quote:

As a prosecutor , who at that time already had to deal with some secret defense matters , I cast version of atomic testing in the area. That's when I became closely engaged " fireballs " .

Questioned many witnesses flight , hovering and , quite simply, unidentified flying objects visit the Polar Urals . Incidentally, when a UFO , ie, unidentified flying objects , linked necessarily aliens , I disagree with them . UFO should be deciphered as unidentified flying objects , and the only way .


Ivanov (1999) then cited multiple sightings he'd documented (including the Shumkov group's) in that area during the timeframe of February / March 1959:

Night of 1 - 2 February: Witness G. Atmanaki reported a 'balloon' (this may be Ivanov's phrasing) over Mount Otorten (10 km to the north of the pass).

2 February: The Shumkov group sighting (see earlier posting above).

17 February: Witnesses Tokarev (a meteorological observer; location unknown) and Savkin (solider at Ivdel) reported a light in the sky moving from south to north or northeast.

31 March: Witness Novikov Avenburga reported a fireball or light similar to what the Shumkov group described from 2 February.

Ivanov related a detailed account of the 17 February Tokarev sighting:

Quote:

(Cursory Google Translation:)

" February 17 at 6:00 50 min. Appeared in the sky phenomenon - moving star with a tail . Tail resembled dense cirrus clouds . Later this star was released from the tail, became even brighter and flew , gradually swelling , forming a large ball , wrapped in mist. Then inside this sphere lit star, from which first formed a small bowl , not as bright . Large bowl gradually began to fall , as became a blur . 7.05 vanished altogether . Drove from south to north-east . "


This struck me as a textbook description of a multi-stage rocket launch, so I did some digging on Soviet rocket launches.

At that time, launches were occurring from both the Baikonur site and the older Kapustin Yar site (both far to the south / southwest). Orbital or long-distance launches were directed northeast from these sites. For example, a launch azimuth of 48 - 51 degrees (off north) would become standard for orbital launches from Kaputsin Yar. (However, the launch azimuth depends on the particular mission, and there are examples of launches directed at very different azimuths.)

The eventually-standard launch vector from Kapustin Yar would have a rocket flying northward over, or slightly to the west of, the primary Ural ridgeline from which the pass protrudes eastward. The northernmost wilderness region within the (then-) Perm Oblast lies directly west of that ridgeline (including the pass and Mount Otorten). This area was a known rocket launch 'drop zone' in later decades (I can't find detailed info on drop zones used in 1959).

So this raises the question: Could any of these sightings have been of Soviet high-altitude or orbital rockets?
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PostPosted: 23-02-2014 18:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

After some Internet rummaging, I located compiled lists of Soviet rocket launches from Baikonur and Kapustin Yar. The data in these lists is subject to the following qualifications:

- The lists were compiled from an array of documents and publications, many of which were issued long after the fact.

- There's no claim that any of the lists I found were complete / comprehensive.

- Launch times were listed as UTC-registered Julian dates, which would mean the equivalent standard time in Sverdlovsk Oblast was 4 hours 'faster' (i.e., UTC + 4) as of 1959.

- Many (apparently most ...) of the launch times were given Julian dates ending with '.50' fractional portions - denoting 0000 hours UTC. My understanding is that this was the default listing protocol for launches whose exact lift-off times were not known, not because the Soviets consistently launched their rockets at precisely midnight UTC.
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PostPosted: 23-02-2014 19:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, there's the Tokarev / Savkin sighting from the early hours (0640 local time) on 17 February ...

On 17 February at 0146 Z an R-7 multi-stage rocket (the original and long-time mainstay of the Soviet ICBM and space fleet) lifted off for a test flight. Its exact apogee (highest altitude attained) is unknown, but it was definitely of orbital scale (i.e., circa 100 miles or more).

According to Tokarev's clock it came into view circa 4 minutes after launch.

It seems relatively safe to presume the 17 February sighting was in fact of a rocket launch.
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PostPosted: 23-02-2014 19:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now what about 2 February, and the Shumkov sighting?

On 2 February an R-5M rocket (multi-stage predecessor of the R-7 ICBM / space booster) was launched on a test flight attaining an apogee listed as circa 200 km (i.e., orbital altitude).

This is one of the many launches for which no precise lift-off time is listed, so I can't confirm it happened on the evening of 2 February as Shumkov reported.
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