Chasing Calipso

From: Gregg Hendry (
Date: Tue Jan 23 2007 - 00:14:59 EST

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    The Calipso laser was observed last night under crystal clear skies.
    I was located 300 meters or so east of the sub-satellite ground track attempting to see spots reflecting off of a snow covered reservoir.  I was located poorly and didn't see spots on the reservoir but did see a fairly bright green flash near the edge of my vision at ground level behind some trees.  The flash appeared to be at least 100 meters to my west.  I now feel that a well positioned observer could likely see Calipso spots on snow covered ground.
    A camera located about 160 meters east of the predicted sub-satellite ground track captured a bright image.
    The image is on the Speedy Share web site at
    Measurements of the spot in reference to the stars show the spot to be about 1 degree in diameter.  Due to the brightness of the image some of the features may be due to the camera optics rather than the actual appearance of the spot.
    The 15 second exposure was taken with a Canon S3 digital camera set at f/4, ISO 200 and fully zoomed.  The full image frame subtends about 4x5 degrees.  The bright star near the spot is 3rd magnitude Mu Ursa Major.
    Thanks to John Locker for finding Speedy Share.
    Gregg Hendry
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