RE: ISS briefly brighter than Venus

From: Matson, Robert (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 19:59:33 PST

  • Next message: Ron Lee: "Beidou 1B LM-3A rkt obs & period, 3 Jan 2001"

    Hi All,
    I took a look at the pass geometry for the bright ISS glint
    that Ed Cannon observed:
    > Last night (about 0:53:30-0:55:30 Dec 30 UTC) I was watching what proved
    > be a very bright ISS pass, very nearly as bright as Jupiter, when it
    flared briefly --
    > about one or two seconds -- to brighter than Venus; then it dropped back
    > to -2.5 or so and then finally gradually faded as it went into the Earth's
    > shadow.  <snip>  Location was outside my apartment, 30.3086N,
    > 97.7279W, 150m.
    My program shows that the surface that caused this glint
    is very likely the same one that caused Ed Light's glint
    on 28 December.  (The two LVLH vectors are only a couple
    degrees apart, perhaps less).  It is a downward tilted
    surface on the starboard side of the station (right side
    if you are sitting on the station facing forward in the
    velocity vector direction).  It is also slightly tilted
    aft.  I still think the right Soyuz solar panel at the tail end
    of the station is a likely candidate.  (Earlier I had
    mistakenly called this Progress -- thank you all for
    correcting me).
    Some have asked about the value of non-observations of glints.
    In the early stages of modeling, these are valuable because
    they lend support to the model if the model ALSO predicts no
    bright glint, and they indicate modeling assumption errors
    if a glint is predicted that does NOT occur.
    Dennis Jones' pass on 12/29 in Cornelius, NC, was also predicted
    to give a glint brightening around 18:21:05 EST -- in the vicinity
    of Cassiopeia as he indicated.  (If the model is to be believed,
    Dennis's glint should not have been as bright as Ed's.)
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