TSS visibility

Maley, Paul D. (PMALEY@GP808.jsc.nasa.gov)
Thu, 14 Mar 1996 08:20:46 -0600

Rob McNaught and Mike McCants both pose a good question as to whether valid 
naked eye estimates can be made on the TSS tether due to it not being a 
point source. It is a unique object.  There is no doubt that the apparent 
brightness varies with sky background and optics (or lack thereof).This is 
clearly a challenging problem.

For my purposes I would like the observer's best estimate in order to 
understand if there is any significant brightness variation occurring due to 
exposure to the micrometeoroid environment. There is no need for photometric 
accuracy in reporting of observations. Thanks to Rob and Mike for their 
clarifying comments.

This morning 14 March at 1120 GMT we had an excellent pass from League City, 
Texas (29.5378 N and 95.0868W) with the apparent tether length exceeding 2.1 
degrees. Appearance is not very different from preceding days.  The bottom 
end of the tether still retains a simlar hook that bends back at an angle 
from the velocity vector. Its apparent visual magnitude at 45 degrees 
maximum elevation was about +2.5 at  a phase angle of 78 deg.

Paul Maley

pmaley@gp808.jsc.nasa.gov