Re: Decay watch: 2000 Feb 15

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Wed Feb 16 2000 - 02:48:53 PST

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    Earl Needham (KD5XB@AMSAT.ORG) wrote:
    ]         Using STK, I made a set of times & AZ/EL's and went out to 
    ] see if I could see anything.  Report?  NOTHING.
    ]         Anybody else have better results at seeing STARSHINE?
    I've never seen Starshine.  I'm not 100% certain, but I believe that
    Mike McCants, who uses an 8-inch dobsonian telescope and definitely 
    knows how to find satellites, has not seen it either.  Its orbit 
    resulted in a limited number of potentially visible passes over our 
    area which was of course reduced to some extent by poor weather for
    some of the passes, and its small size and very slow rotation caused 
    it to be very faint except on some rare occasions when a few lucky 
    people saw it flash brightly once or maybe twice.
    ]         I was really hoping to see a reentry tonight, been trying for 
    ] some time now.  Might anyone have some suggestions in that area?  Is 
    ] there a "trick" to it?
    I believe the trick is to look at every possible opportunity AND have 
    very good luck!  I've seen messages on SeeSat-L from people who have
    been observing for many years who have never seen a re-entry.  I'm
    still here less than four years, so I've got a very long wait to see
    one, I guess....  Anyone who wants to improve the chances of seeing a
    re-entry needs to move to the tropics (and maybe the tropics south of 
    the equator is better than north of it), as that is where, I believe 
    (1) most (or at least very many) orbital perigees are and/or (2) many 
    satellites tend to encounter more atmosphere sooner.
    In thinking about re-entries, I've coming up with these factors:  50
    percent of them occur in daylight; 70 percent of them occur over 
    water; an undetermined (by me) large percentage occur in the tropical 
    latitudes; an undetermined (by me) percentage of the ones over land
    occur over uninhabited land; an undetermined (by me) percentage of the 
    ones at night occur when most people are sleeping; etc....  It takes 
    some very good luck to be at the right place at the right time AND be 
    looking for one!
    Best of luck to everyone for clear and dark nights and re-entries 
    during them when you are looking--
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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