Mir/STS-91 sighting

Jason Hatton (grc@spica.usno.navy.mil)
Tue, 09 Jun 98 11:13:49 -0500

Hi, all...

Just want to chime in with my sighting of "Discovery" and Mir from last night. 
I'd just gotten home from the office (Monday night tours here at USNO) and had
just enough time to grab the camcorder and tripod to head over to the ball field
behind the elementary school in my neighborhood.

Got everything set up, focused the camcorder on Vega, and turned to face
northwest.  Sure enough, a bright light was there, slowly drifting northward and
climbing.  I got it in the camcorder field and started taping.  The object kept
getting brighter, and then I nocticed the "trailer" some 10 degrees behind it. 
I managed to keep both in the field of view until the leader vanished into the
earth's shadow just below Kochab (Beta UMi).  The "trailer" vanished some 25
seconds later just a tad further east.

The "Leader" was, of course, "Discovery", which got *really* bright...comparable
to Jupiter, around   -2.5 magnitude.  Mir was considerably dimmer, perhaps zero
mag at best...which surprised me.  I've seen the shuttle many times before, and
this was one of the brightest passes I've ever seen from it.  Does anyone know
what their attitude was at this time?  It's alsmost as if they had the radiator
panels pointed at the Sun...

Anyway, I finally have it on tape!  Good thing, too, as it's supposed to be
cloudy for the next several evenings, and tonight the Washington Capitals start
their quest for the Stanley Cup!



| Geoff Chester      grc@spica.usno.navy.mil       Public  Affairs Office |
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