STS-87 re-entry

Jim Scotti (jscotti@LPL.Arizona.EDU)
Fri, 5 Dec 1997 05:44:35 -0700 (MST)

I observed Columbia during its re-entry this morning from my dome on Kitt
Peak in Arizona.  It first appeared low in the WSW looking much like an
airplane with red running lights visible, slightly flickering.  The
luminous trail was visible immediately when viewed with binoculars.  The
Shuttle brightened to about magntiude -2 as it culminated about 5 degrees
above the south horizon.  It was a briliant pink color then.  It finally
passed behind the McMath Solar Telescope and then over the horizon.  The
trail was easily visible to the unaided eye more than 5 minutes after the
shuttle passage and was faintly visible still in binoculars about 12
minutes after passage.  It was fun to connect to the KSC web page with
live views and watch the landing and rollout.  Looks like it's home safe
and sound. 


Jim Scotti                              
Lunar & Planetary Laboratory 
University of Arizona                520/621-2717 
Tucson, AZ 85721 USA