Shuttle Launch Sun Transits

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Thu Jul 14 2005 - 16:52:26 EDT

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    The latest news I have about the STS-114 launch talks about an earliest 
    (unlikely) launch date of Sunday, 17-JUL-05. If they do launch on that day 
    there would be the possibility to observe the Shuttle and the External Tank 
    transiting the Sun. The central line for this event  runs from the Southwest 
    corner of England via North-Central France, Switzerland to North-East Italy. 
    The swath along the central line (from where the transit can be seen) is just 
    about 10 km wide. The approximate launch calculation I have done is not that 
    accurate but hopefully NASA posts planned MECO orbit elements ahead of time 
    like they have done for the earlier launch attempts and then it is possible 
    to come up with specific places from where to observe the transit.
    Should the launch be further delayed the Sun transit situation remains 
    essentially the same except that the central line shifts slightly toward the 
    North and is extended further toward the East (in accordance with the ever 
    earlier launch time).
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
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