CXO near apoge

Date: Sun Jun 24 2001 - 17:10:26 PDT

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      Hi all -
      It was a clear, breezy, and unusually warm night (min temp +16C/60F, quite
    warm for this elevation), so after looking at Mars, I turned my 12.5-inch
    Newtonian to look for Chandra X-ray Observatory as it approached apogee.  Below
    is the Highfly output for this object, however, I used a 4-week old NASA JPL
    Horizons output to actually look for it.  At 0700, the Horizons output had
    Chandra passing between a distinctive pair of 12th-magnitude stars.  At the
    appointed time, I failed to see Chandra between the stars, but less than a
    minute later, as it pulled clear from the "glare" of those stars, I was able to
    glimpse it.  I tracked it for 20 minutes, during which time it passed by enough
    comparison stars to get a good magnitude estimate for it.  At magnitude 14.4,
    it was just about what Highfly predicted for it, using a Quicksat standard
    magnitude of 3.5.
      This is the most distant (and faintest) human-made object I have ever seen,
    having had no luck with the NEAR, Cassini, and Stardust fly bys.
      I may be one of the few people to have seen both this spacecraft and the
    person for whom it is named, Dr. Chandrasekhar.  Back in the 1960's, when I was
    an astronomy major in college, I went to one of his talks at the University of
    Chicago.  He talked about stellar evolution, and I recall understanding some of
    his talk, but being rather stumped by some of the details (I was a mere
    sophomore at the time, and hadn't learned differential equations and such yet).
      Highfly output (distances in miles):
      39.877 105.391 8950.   Coal Creek Canyon        2000 17.0 20
      2001 Jun 23/24   Sat eve/Sun mornUT
      25867 CHANDRA                     M 3.5 ELDY  4 M2    0
      Hrs Min  Alt Azi  Mag    Hgt    R  A    Dec  Range
        7  15   76 254 14.2  74634  17 15.8  34.4  74753
      I SAW MIR !
      Perhaps this will be the last message on this topic, unless, of course,
    someone replies.  Back when Mir left us, someone (Jay Respler?) asked for last
    sightings from mid-northern latitudes (specifically, 40 north).  I'm a few
    minutes south of 40 north, and here's the Quicksat output for my last sighting
    on the evening of March 12, local time:
      2001 Mar 13  Tue   UT   152 1229
       H  M  S Tim Al AziC Dir  Mag Dys F  Hgt Shd  Rng  R A  Dec
       2  8 19  .2 14 224C 269   .8   2 0  151 106  503  321-22.2 Mir
      Mir was faintly visible to the naked eye at magnitude 2 until it slipped
    behind a mountain wave cloud, never to be seen again (by me).
      Cheers, Rich Keen
      Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado, USA (39.877N, 105.391W, elevation 2728m)
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