A Question about visiblity of STS-130 on Orbit #1

From: Skywayinc@aol.com
Date: Mon Feb 01 2010 - 04:27:17 UTC

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    A friend of mine who lives in the Washington,  D.C. area sent me an E-Mail 
    about the prospective visibility of Endeavour in his  area after the 
    scheduled 4:38 a.m. EST launch next Sunday.  Among his  questions was this:
    
    "But I'm still not sure about Feb. 7 and 8 (Endeavour  docks 130AM or so 
    Feb. 9th).  I doubt they are much better, but we're  running out of chances to 
    see the orbiters undocked.  I'm hoping someone  who can chart the alt./az. 
    for the shuttle during ascent might have some  thoughts on whether it might 
    be visible after the first orbit, too.  Ninety  minutes after launch (4:39 
    AM) on Feb. 7, Endeavour should be coming around  again shortly after 6:09 
    AM, presumably to the west of us.  That's still  twilight for the most of the 
    East Coast -- any thoughts on whether we might get  to see it then?"
    
    Here was my response:
    
    Hi Jim --  
    
    I've been thinking about that as well . . . I think  that Endeavour will 
    have an orbital altitude of about 140 statute miles on its  first flyover and 
    it might even be a minute or two earlier than 6:09 (at that  initial low 
    Earth orbital insertion, its orbital period might be closer to 89 or  even 88 
    minutes).  The angle of illumination, however, should be very  favorable; 
    remember, the Sun will be coming up in the east-southeast and  Endeavour will 
    be reaching its highest altitude (for us) over in the  west-northwest . . . 
    so it should be broadside to the rising Sun and almost  fully illuminated.  
    Considering the fact that this all happens about an  hour before sunrise 
    means that it should be readily visible.  Only concern  I think, is the 
    altitude; at 140-miles, it's probably going to be 10-degrees or  less at its highest 
    above our local horizons (I live just north of NYC).   If that be the case, 
    neither NASA Realtime data or Heavens Above will provide a  listing.  
    
    Nonetheless, all this could be a moot  point, since latest computer 
    forecasts are suggesting a major storm along the  Middle Atlantic coast next Sunday.
    -- joe
    
    
    Anyone on SeeSat-L have  an opinion on this?
    -- joe rao  
    
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