ICESat's Laser is On

From: Gregg Hendry (
Date: Sun Feb 22 2004 - 02:11:31 EST

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    The laser altimeter aboard ICESat (27642) is on again and is planned to
    remain on until mid-March. 
    When atmospheric conditions are right and observer positioning is
    exactly right, green light from the laser can be seen from the ground.  
    To observe the laser in even good conditions it is required to get
    within a few hundred meters of the satellite’s ground track and look
    towards zenith precisely as the satellite passes overhead.  This is hard
    to do. Publicly available satellite elements are likely only good to a
    few kilometers and the satellite is usually but not always pointing
    nadir.  I however recommend interested observers give it a try if an
    ICESat pass comes close as the effect is quite unique and successful
    observations are rather rare.
    The next month of passes occur in darkness around 3 AM for mid-latitudes
    More discussion on observing ICESat can be found in the SeeSat-L
    archives for Oct-03.
    Gregg Hendry
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