ISS, Atlantis and Lacrosse 5 Disappearance

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Sat Feb 09 2008 - 19:35:21 UTC

  • Next message: Lutz Schindler: "Obs 09.02.08"

    Perfect conditions here to observe Atlantis shorty before docking to the ISS 
    shortly after sunset (sun elevation -2 deg). Watching through my 3 inch 
    apo-scope at 60 times magnification I cannot remember ever to have seen the 
    segments of the ISS in such crisp detail. Just below the ISS the Shuttle 
    showed up in like detail. I picked up the duo at 16:43:15 UTC (9-FEB-08) high 
    in the northern sky and followed it for two minutes before they disappeared 
    behind the roof of a neighbor's house (why do neighbor's houses need roofs? - 
    it's always so annoying!). During the two minutes the shuttle could clearly 
    be seen to be moving (with respect to the ISS). On a scale from 1 to 10 I 
    would have given this pass an 11!!!
    Lacking a rewind button on my scope I had to wait for one orbit to see the ISS 
    again this time with Atlantis already docked to it. I picked them up close to 
    the horizon at 18:15 UTC and followed them for three minutes. I didn't see 
    quite the detail of the former pass as I found the brightness of the ISS 
    almost blinding to my eyes in the now much darker sky.
    While getting ready for the second ISS / Atlantis pass I took two pictures of 
    15 sec duration each of a part of the sky where our old friend Lacrosse 5 
    (2005-16A) should have been. The first pictures taken at 18:13:10 UTC 
    (9-FEB-08) clearly shows Lacrosse 5 in Lacerta as a mag 2 object. The second 
    picture which started at 18:14:01 UTC does not show any trace of Lacrosse 5 
    in Cassiopeia. I didn't visually observe it but only took the pictures 
    because at the same time I was getting ready to observe the ISS with my scope 
    but sometime between 18:13:25 UTC and 18:14:01 UTC (9-FEB-08) Lacrosse 5 must 
    have done it disappearance trick again. Maybe somebody else has watched it.
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
    49.8822 N, 8.6558 E    
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