Re: ISS marathon

From: Marco Langbroek (marco.langbroek@wanadoo.nl)
Date: Sun Jul 20 2003 - 08:38:14 EDT

  • Next message: Walter Nissen: "Status and Identity of Iridium 30 and Iridium 31"

    > My tracking software Nova for Windows showed it going into eclipse last
    > night during its pass over Seattle about 11:10pm PDT but I saw it through
    > the entire pass, reddish and mag 2 or 3.
    
    I had a similar experience here yesterday night 18-19 July. It should have
    emerged from the earth shadow at 22:33:16 UTC according to sathunt and
    22:33:27 according to H-A, but was visible much earlier, at +2 to +3 or
    something, before brightening notably to around mag. 0 near the time above.
    
    In fact that night mentioned above was a fine night during which I observed
    all three nighttime ISS passes for my locality (Leiden, Holland) plus a
    bright Iridium flare. The sighting above was the first of that night, and it
    occured at an altitude of some 30 degrees right above the domes of the 19th
    century observatory of Leiden. I had specifically choosen that vantage
    point, and  I stood there with my camera ready  :)
    
    Next pass was a near-zenit pass during which ISS attained a brightness of
    around -2 to perhaps -3 (H-A gives -0.8), which I observed from my home.
    Indeed by far the brightest object in the sky. At least similar if not
    surpassing Mars later that night (which is at -1.8 currently.
    
    The third and final pass was again over the old observatory, but this time
    descending more steeply and at a brightness of at least -1 to -2, then
    fading. Again, I was there with my camera ready. It was a very pleasant warm
    night - bats flying over the old city moat, an owl "ohoo-ing" from the
    Hortus Botanicus, and I stood there in shorts and T-shirt although it was
    3:45 am in the night. Nice! Some 45 minutes later, in deep morning twilight,
    I stood there again to watch a -7 flare of Iridium #38 over the observatory
    in a bright twilight sky, the topping of the cake for that night!
    
    Last night however was best - ISS made a beautiful low pass over the old
    observatory during evening twilight. I picked it up very early at an
    altitude of less than ten degrees and the next minutes watched it steadily
    nearing the observatory, passing over the domes of it at 23 degrees altitude
    between 23:33:50-23:35:25 local time (sun altitude -13) after which it
    disappeared behind the large old Japanese Oak in the Hortus Botanicus. The
    twilight sky was still a bit blue, and ISS at least -1, a very cool and
    impressive sight!
    
    - Marco
    
    ----------
    Marco Langbroek
    
    marco.langbroek@wanadoo.nl
    meteorites@dmsweb.org
    http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek
    
    "What seest thou else
     In the dark backward and abysm of time?"
    
                                William Shakespeare
                                The Tempest act I scene 2
    ----------
    
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