RE: How many NOSS Triads are visible in Binos?

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Wed Jul 31 2002 - 11:21:02 EDT

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    Larry Wood asked:
    > McCants file  had 12 NOSS triads listed. If looking in a pair 
    > of binoculars from the city how many are visible ?
    The three triads launched in the 1990's are the most readily visible in
    binoculars (7x50's will do) - sometimes to the unaided eye.
    In Sep 2001, a NOSS duad was launched. See 01040A and B (NORAD 26905 and
    26907). They look like a triad with one member missing. We will have to
    wait for another launch to determine whether or not the duad is
    intentional or the result of a failure to deploy one member of a triad.
    These objects are about the same brightness as the 1990's triad members.
    The triads launched in the 1970's and 80's consisted of smaller
    satellites, which could be seen using 11x80 binoculars. They too
    occasionally were visible to the unaided eye. Most of those triads have
    long ago drifted out of formation, but all of the individual members are
    still tracked by hobbyists.
    Ted Molczan
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