Re: NE Iowa ISS lunar transit 6/09/03 UT

From: Thomas Fly (
Date: Sun Jun 08 2003 - 22:24:46 EDT

  • Next message: Thomas Fly: "Re: NE Iowa ISS lunar transit 6/09/03 UT"

    > After dousing myself with mosquito repellent...
    I went out, then doused myself.
    > I placed my Nikon Coolpix 4500 digital camera onto my Celestron 5 inch telescope 40 mm eyepiece to try to get it digitally.
    I fiddled with trying to align my Kodak DC290 (on a tripod) with the eyepiece on my 10" Meade S/N - which I've barely had time to
    learn to operate - until I saw the space station heading for the moon and said to hell with this, and stuck my eye to the eyepiece.
    The sky had miraculously cleared except for some clouds on the horizon in which there were lightening flashes, making the experience
    somewhat surreal.
    I had an ancient Radio Shack "Time Cube" tuned to 15 MHz WWV from Fort Collins, CO, and as the beep for 10:31 PM EDT came, the space
    station came zipping in (as predicted!).  As Tom noted- and as Russ Pinizzotto had remarked about a lunar transit he observed last
    week- the space station seemed to explode in brightness as it crossed the terminator.
    Even knowing beforehand how transient the transit would be (...), it was nonetheless stunning to see- magnification gives a real
    sense of the space station's sheer speed.  I couldn't discern any shape, but the explosion in brilliance as it crossed the
    terminator was nearly visceral.
    After having "assembled" a program that can predict such a thing, it's still amazing to me that such an event can be predicted.
    Simplified General Perturbation... computing the position of the moon (a good bit more complex than computing the position of the
    sun)... geodetic models of the earth's surface... atomic clocks... it makes one appreciate how the ancient Egyptians regarded the
    astronomers of that time as magicians.
    Tom's transit was about 3 minutes (900 miles!) prior to mine, and 5 orbits before John Locker's.
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