What does STS-63 look like?

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Sun, 5 Feb 1995 14:57:53 -0500

Two items from Usenet:

From: brand@csgrad.cs.vt.edu (Jeff Brandenburg)
Newsgroups: sci.astro.amateur
Subject: Re: Shuttle sighting
Date: Sat Feb  4 16:56:12 1995

I spotted it from Lancaster, PA.  I would have estimated it at maybe
-1 or -2; seemed brighter than Sirius.  I'm not sure how long I tracked
it as it moved from SSE toward NE, but I believe it was longer than a
minute.  It appeared distinctly orange, and pulsed with a period > 1 sec.
I didn't start looking for it until after booster separation, and it
was a couple of minutes before it appeared.
        -jeffB (Jeff Brandenburg, Va. Tech CS)

From: ai@iol.ie (Astronomy Ireland)
Newsgroups: sci.astro,sci.astro.amateur,sci.space.policy,sci.space.shuttle
Subject: 'comet' STS-63 seen Dublin, Ireland
Date: Sun Feb  5 03:19:55 1995

Saw space shuttle Discovery (STS-63)
from Dublin, Ireland (53.2742N, 6.3588W, 95m above sea level)
at Sunday 1995 Feb. 5d 06h 28m 47.30s U.T.
when it passed Spica (V=0.97) which was about 22 deg. above SW horizon.
Discovery was as bright as Spica = mag +1, about 850km from me.

I had a look in binoculars in case anything visible near it. I saw it was
hazy but thought this was due to thin clouds that had (miraculously)
cleared only minutes earlier. Then I noticed 'haze' was on one side only
and checked nearby stars - which showed NO haze. Discovery really did
look like a comet with a short half degree fan shaped tail (in 7x50B).
Water dumping no doubt?
Can anyone confirm this or are such mundane matters not logged?

David Moore BSc FRAS, Editor of "Astronomy & Space" magazine.
(ai@iol.ie) Chairman, Astronomy Ireland, P.O.Box 2888, Dublin 1.
Tel: +353-1-459 8883. Fax: +353-1-459 9933.
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