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Thumper
2002-Dec-04, 01:48 PM
I was listening to an interview with astronaut Dr. David Wolf yesterday and thought about catching a view of the ISS and Shuttle. I was disappointed to find out that the shuttle had already undocked and separated. Sky and Telescope (www.skypub.com)stated that observers North America could get a nice view of the two craft in tandem on Monday night. However, I checked Heavens Above (www.heavens-above.com) and it listed visible passes for both objects less than a minute apart for Tuesday evening.

Sure enough, last night just after 6:00 PM EST they came across West to Northeast, both visible for about 4 minutes. They appeared to be on the same "path" separated by about 15 degrees or so. It was very nice. According to the site, and in my observation, the shuttle appeared brighter. That surprised me given the larger size of the ISS.

kucharek
2002-Dec-04, 01:55 PM
Brightness not only depends on size, but also on the orientation of the objects with respect to the sun and the observer.

Thumper
2002-Dec-04, 02:05 PM
I thought about that. I think by that time the shuttle was slightly lower and may also have been presenting me the perfect angle to reflect the sunlight. While I may have been looking at the large arrays of the ISS edge on so to speak.

What amazes me is how accurate the H-A prediction software is. Not just the transit times, but the predicted magnitudes. Those would vary tremendously by viewing location.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Dec-04, 02:10 PM
Everyone has become pretty good at predicting the Iridium flare magnitudes too.

After the shuttle undocks, it starts to land, and is then lower--and faster.

Thumper
2002-Dec-04, 02:17 PM
I really enjoy going out and catching an Iridium flare sighting. Doesn't take much time and you can impress your friends by telling them right when and where to look and then it appears.

As for the shuttle, I hear it is imperative for me to attend a launch sometime. I've also heard that people in Louisiana and Texas can sometimes see the glowing shuttle streaking in on re-entry.

kucharek
2002-Dec-04, 03:17 PM
On 2002-12-04 09:17, Thumper wrote:
As for the shuttle, I hear it is imperative for me to attend a launch sometime. I've also heard that people in Louisiana and Texas can sometimes see the glowing shuttle streaking in on re-entry.

I don't know if it is glowing, but if you look at the ground tracks for the upcoming landing at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/groundtracs/ if the land on rev 170, your statement should hold.

Harald

segfault
2002-Dec-04, 07:19 PM
On 2002-12-04 09:17, Thumper wrote:
I really enjoy going out and catching an Iridium flare sighting. Doesn't take much time and you can impress your friends by telling them right when and where to look and then it appears.

As for the shuttle, I hear it is imperative for me to attend a launch sometime. I've also heard that people in Louisiana and Texas can sometimes see the glowing shuttle streaking in on re-entry.


I saw the shuttle re-entering once when I lived in Houston. I was very young, so I could be remembering an embellished version of the events, but I remember seeing a very bright, fast-moving fireball.

boron10
2002-Dec-05, 01:30 AM
I saw a launch once, from Orlando. It was the middle of the night, then the sky lit up like morning. The shuttle path went straight up, then I think it curved West and South. I assume this is due to the shuttle going up, and me spinning beneath it; but, why south?

Hale_Bopp
2002-Dec-05, 04:41 AM
Why south? The Space Shuttle can go into several different orbits depending on its mission. I lived in Bradenton and certian launches were much better to observe depending on which orbit they were going to. I don't know what mission you saw, so I can't comment on why they went for that particular orbit.

For example, they have to go for a different orbit to reach the ISS than if they were servicing Hubble or launching a satellite such as Chanrda.

Rob

RafaelAustin
2002-Dec-07, 05:00 PM
I've seen the night-time Shuttle re-entry twice here in Austin, TX and it really is nice. A bright orange-ish trail follows it all the way across the sky, visible for a couple of minutes before dissapating. Luckily one of the local TV weathermen frequently reports when the Shuttle will be making a night re-entry.

Kaptain K
2002-Dec-08, 09:17 PM
I work in Austin (night shift). I just missed one of the re-entries. I got outside just a couple of minutes late. The Shuttle had already passed, but there was a bright orange streak from horizon to horizon. Truly awesome!