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2.27.20
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Trump Tweet Accidentally Reveals Secrets About US Spy Satellites

September 3rd 19__Victor Tangermann__Filed Under: Future Society
Donald Trump via Twitter

Classified Tweet

In recent tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump included a smartphone picture of Iran’s Semnan Launch Site One — a location where U.S. authorities believe a rocket failure took place.

But astronomy experts managed to glean much more from the simple image. By analyzing the angle at which the image was taken, they apparently figured out which spy satellite took it and when.

Dutch astronomer and asteroid tracker Marco Langbroek suggests the image could’ve been taken by USA 224 — an extremely secretive recon satellite which cost around two billion dollars — a day before Trump tweeted the image.

But Her Emails

The suspected KH-11-type optical imaging satellite launched in 2011, but has been visible to amateur astronomers and trackers since then.

“They’re super bright in the sky and are easy to find,” Michael Thompson, a graduate student in astrodynamics at Purdue University, told NPR.

Oh Doubt

But the extremely high resolution of the image has some astronomers puzzled. Calculations put the resolution at an estimated 10 centimeters per pixel, while the newest commercial satellites take images at only 30, according to Quartz.

“The level of detail in the image is incredible,” wrote Langbroek in a blog post. “These are high resolution optical satellites that resemble the Hubble Space Telescope, but look down to Earth instead of to the heavens.”

READ MORE: Trump Accidentally Revealed The Amazing Resolution Of U.S. Spy Satellites [Forbes]

More on spy satellites: US Air Force X-37B Space Plane Spotted In Orbit