ISS observation / question

From: Paul (thestarman@homemail.com.au)
Date: Sun Jan 28 2007 - 05:33:56 EST

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    Hi all,
    
    I have just observed an extremely bright flyover by the ISS from Canberra,
    Australia (60 degrees and 415km according to Heavens-above.com). The station
    seemed much brighter than the -0.6 forecast by that site.
    
    I happened to be outside to look for Comet McNaught with my binoculars and
    pointed them at the station out of curiosity. A couple of things came to
    mind/eye. 
    
    Firstly, there seemed to be a obvious colour (can't remember now which one!)
    which is new. I assume that is the new solar panels. I seemed to have had
    very poor viewing conditions since the new panels where added and this has
    been the best pass I have had with very clear skies. 
    
    The second thing which surprised me was that I noticed a very short thin
    line of light extend from each side of the station. These lines keep the
    same orientation as the station passed overhead and did not disappear when I
    refocused the binoculars (just to check!).
    
    My question is - is it possible using binoculars to seeing the station as an
    very slightly elongated shape? The binoculars are labelled 'Gerber Sport',
    10 by 50 with 288 ft at 1000 yds. 
    
    Thanks,
    
    Paul Floyd.
    www.paulfloyd.id.au
    
    
    
    
    
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