Stardust, ISS

From: richard.keen@kingsmarket.com
Date: Sat Feb 10 2001 - 22:34:57 PST

  • Next message: Dale Ireland: "Progress/ISS"

                                      
    Hi all -
      First, a late non-report: a few weeks ago I posted a request for an ephemeris
    for the approaching Stardust flyby, and received replies from Mark Hanning-Lee,
    Ron Lee, and Tony Beresford - thanks!  It was clear that night, and with my
    mighty 12.5-inch Newtonian, I made multiple attempts to locate the object over
    an 80-minute period (04:50 to 06:10 UT 15 January 2001).  No luck.  Although
    the sky was slightly milky from very light snow flurries blowing in from the
    mountains to the west, the limiting magnitude in the 12-inch was around 13.5
    (for a moving object).  So Stardust must have been fainter than that.  I didn't
    see any glints, flares, flashes, etc.  Did anyone see it visually?
      Second, last evening I watched a pass of the STS-98/ISS combo.  Here's the
    edited Quicksat output:  
    39.877 105.391 8950.   Coal Creek Canyon, CO    2000 14.5  5 F F F T F
     H  M  S Tim Al AziC Dir  Mag Dys F  Hgt Shd  Rng  R A  Dec
    2001 Feb 10  Sat  UT
     1 32 26  .3 47 328C  91 -1.7   7 9  222 146  295 2348 65.7
      The STS/ISS reached magnitude -1 at and past culmination, and remained rather
    steady in brightness with a slight yellow/orangish tint.
      The best views were with my 3-inch Edmund Scientific "Space Conqueror"
    Newtonian reflector (advertised as a "Palomar-type" reflecting telescope in
    their 1958 catalog).  Years ago I used to track Echo I with this telescope,
    with those 20-minute-long passes causing plenty of neck pains.  But I
    digress....
      In the "Space Conqueror" at 30x, hand-tracking to follow the STS/ISS, the
    object was clearly double.  I've seen the STS/Mir combo as double before, and
    have glimpsed structure on the Mir with this telescope, but this time it was a
    rather spectacular double star, each component of which seemed to have some
    structure.  The brighter object was the on the bottom, which I suspect was the
    Shuttle (right?)
      Fortunately, the morning low temperature of -25 C had warmed up to about 0 C
    at the time of the observation.
      Unfortunately, the next few days promise plenty of clouds.
      Cheers, Rich Keen
      Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado, USA (39.877N, 105.391W, elevation 2728m)
    
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