Public satellites ... radio monitoring

From: Walter Nissen <dk058_at_cleveland.Freenet.Edu>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 04:13:35 -0400
> From: rfredric@tyrell.net (Richard Fredrick)
> Subject: Just joined list

I was rereading your introductory message to SeeSat-L and thought you
might be interested to read the appendix, which is a message I sent out a
few days back to a dozen or so people in the Cleveland area.  I've been
sending such messages for a number of years and have received many, many
positive comments and encouragements.

At one time, a lady, 85 years young, reported to one of the television
weathercasters (who had passed on my indication of visibility) that she
went out predawn on a chaise lounge and that the sight "Made my day".

Even when making favorable passes, not many satellites are suitable for
broad public participation.   Such must be very bright; and steadily and
reliably so.  SROSS-C2 and DMSP F3 are bright enough, and spectacular
sights, but are mostly dark, making naked eye acquisition very difficult.

DMSP F3
1 10820U 78042A   95100.07812629  .00000092  00000-0  53768-4 0  5431
2 10820  98.6487 293.1852 0008407 218.5366 141.5216 14.28903533881257
SROSS-C2
1 23099U 94027A   95103.50222422  .00001853  00000-0  94239-4 0  1778
2 23099  46.0445 152.8472 0135573 179.1199 180.9911 15.14097852 51881

Some that are suitable are Mir, the shuttles, Lacrosse 1 and 2, and
perhaps the 71 degree Zenits at certain times in their life cycles.
(Note that I used the word "steadily" in the previous paragraph in a
peculiar way).

C* 2237 r       10.4  3.9  0.0  4.6
1 22566U 93016  B 95102.55215297  .00000233  00000-0  12268-3 0  3997
2 22566  71.0005 139.3852 0011496 216.4581 143.5653 14.13902321105655
C* 2263 r       10.4  3.9  0.0  4.6
1 22803U 93059  B 95100.88803476  .00000055  00000-0  27969-4 0  4150
2 22803  70.9840  33.4728 0016235 123.3758 236.8908 14.15822164 80905
C* 2297 r       10.4  3.9  0.0  4.6
1 23405U 94077B   95087.16220415 -.00000029  00000-0  10000-4 0   629
2 23405  70.9866 348.9002 0000719 329.7250  30.3844 14.14188168 17500

Also this family:

C* 2258          6.0  0.0  0.0  4.5
1 22709U 93044  A 95102.19621153  .00035957  00000-0  75723-4 0  3086
2 22709  65.0287  46.5707 0126638 250.2657 108.4839 15.85615570100065
C* 2264          6.0  0.0  0.0  4.5
1 22808U 93060  A 95102.23583878  .00096493  00000-0  22835-3 0  1737
2 22808  64.9857 265.7213 0110674 270.3821  88.4586 15.86345401 88797
C* 2293
1 23336U 94072A   95103.86609072  .00000316  00000-0  10000-4 0  3220
2 23336  65.0287 261.7446 0014811 295.6988  64.2593 15.52077538 25277

Like you, the ridiculous ease of seeing Mir made a "convert" of me.  I was
despairing somewhat of ever being able to observe much from a bright urban
site when I found Mir easy to see, even from inside.  I've since seen it a
number of times while sitting at my desk in my chair.

Topex has been seen a few times to brighten enormously at "unfavorable"
phase angles.  It is said to have a large, flat bottom (ocean pointing)
surface which can really light up if it is specularly(?) reflecting the
Sun toward you.

I'm interested to know if anyone has monitored signals from the C* 1933
family of satellites and if they are consistent with the theory of
flashing behavior which I advanced in an earlier SeeSat-L message
(reprinted in the February Flash, page 26).  Briefly, this theory suggests
that such satellites do not flash while operative; flash brightly and
irregularly "in distress" after losing attitude control; and later, after
eddy current deceleration, do not flash.

Cheers.

---

SPACE STATION MIR SPECTACULAR IN SUNDAY EVENING SKY

Sunday evening, April 16th, weather permitting, sky watchers will have a
spectacular opportunity to see the space station Mir as it flies almost
directly over the Cleveland area just after darkness falls.  The space
station will very likely become the brightest object in the sky.  It
should be easily seen using just the naked eye, even from urban locations.
The space station will rise in the SW.  At about 9:28 pm EDT it will pass
about 2 degrees right of Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky
(about 19 degrees above azimuth 226) moving almost straight up.  It may
already be 1st magnitude at that time.  When it passes 6 degrees left of
Procyon about 75 seconds later, halfway from horizon to zenith (44 degrees
above 217), it may already be about magnitude -1.  About 33 seconds later,
and moving more distinctly toward the left, it will pass very close to the
bright and reddish planet Mars (about 67 degrees above 195).  About 22
seconds later it will be extremely high in the SE as it reaches
culmination, its highest point above the horizon (about 76 degrees above
azimuth 142).  It will probably be about magnitude -2.  As it heads off
toward the northeast, and reaches a point almost directly below the end of
the handle of the Big Dipper, about 9:32 it will disappear into the shadow
of the Earth (about 23 degrees above 60).  It is not possible to give
exact times of the passage, but there is a good chance that these times
are within just a very few minutes of the actual fly over.

The space station, Mir, will appear as a bright moving point, perhaps
similar in appearance to a distant airliner.  Very distant, as it will be
398 km (247 miles) up and moving 5 miles per second.

Credit is due to the Goddard Space Flight Center of NASA for supplying
data used in producing these indications of visibility and to Cleveland
Freenet for providing connectivity to them and to you.

Binoculars are a much better choice than a telescope for scanning the sky
looking for the space station, although neither necessary nor desirable,
unless a light haze is present.  Anybody who'd like to try the advanced
level task of acquiring (and following!) the station in a telescope,
should call me for details.  If you succeed, you may be able to discern
the structure of the station, and distinguish its modules.

Here is some raw data for the next few days (When SHD is small, Mir will
enter the shadow near the point indicated.  All these passes are in
the direction from SW to NE.):

***  1995 Apr  16  *** Times are UT ***   057  956
 H  M  S      AL AZI C      MAG   REVS  HGT SHD  RNG  R A   DEC
 0 51 58      17 134 C      1.0   45.1  398 104 1077 12 0 -17.7
 2 25 56      19 256        1.8   46.1  398  21 1010  6 4   2.7

***  1995 Apr  17  *** Times are UT ***   058  954
 1 31 50      76 144 C     -1.4   61.1  398 130  409 1018  29.9

***  1995 Apr  18  *** Times are UT ***   059  952
 2 12  1      31 335 C      1.0   77.1  398 110  727  3 4  67.0

***  1995 Apr  19  *** Times are UT ***   1 1  951
 1 15 44      54 329 C      -.4   92.1  398 291  485  620  66.0
 2 52 29      16 347 C      2.6   93.1  399  31 1126  1 2  62.2

The Mir 18 crew, Commander Vladimir Dezhurov, Flight Engineer Gennady
Strekalov and Cosmonaut Researcher Norm Thagard have completed a month in
space.

Cheers.

Walter I. Nissen, Jr., CDP        216-243-4980 (24 hr)
dk058@cleveland.freenet.edu
Received on Tue Apr 18 1995 - 05:56:21 UTC

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