Re: NOSS satellites

Leigh Palmer (palmer@sfu.ca)
Wed, 20 Aug 1997 00:13:01 -0700

I saw the 2-2 group again tonight. E is still at least two mags brighter
than the others. I looked for the 2-3 group and couldn't see them at all.

>My question is: what shapes are these really arranged in? Equilateral
>triangle, isosceles triangle, right triangle...?

The NOSS constellations consist of three visible satellites, each of
which moves in a roughly geocentric orbit. The shape of the triangle
formed cannot be maintained because the orbits must intersect one
another when viewed from Earth's center. Thus from time to time the
satellites will even appear to be in a straight line from that point
of view. All other times they form some sort of triangle, but its
shape must vary continuously.

I tried viewing them from above in simulation in Starry Night. It is
possible to do so, but it is difficult.

Leigh