vanguard, etc.

richard.keen@kingsmarket.com
Thu, 19 Mar 98 19:12:40

                                  
  Hi -
  Just wondering, has anyone out there besides me seen the
"grapefruit" in the sky, Vanguard 1, which is now over 40 years
old?  Don't be shy - post your observations!
  For those who would like to see a Vanguard satellite and don't
have a 12-inch telescope, there is one on display at the
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the mall in Washington, DC. 
This particular Vanguard has actually flown, although not very
far - it was banged up and recovered after the infamous launch
attempt on Dec. 6, 1957.  My "TRW Space Log" gives it the
designation "Vanguard TV 3", which I presume means "Test
Vehicle".  The display at the museum has the Vanguard held in the
hands of a rather discouraged looking Uncle Sam, the U.S.A.'s
human mascot.
  And, I'd like to thank Jason Hatton (a Seesat subscriber and
contributor) for sending me a copy of an article titled "Optical
Observations of Geostationary Spin Stabilised Satellites", by
A.B. Giles and K.M. Hill, in Spaceflight, Vol. 31, Sept. 1989,
pages 310-312.  This article inspired me to look at GOES 8 going
into eclipse last week (I posted these observations on Seesat) to
verify for myself that these cylindrical, geostationary
satellites are indeed brighter when the sun has the same
declination as the satellite (from the observer's location). 
Although I was about a week late for the observation (thanks to
our snowy weather), GOES 8 was indeed almost two magnitudes than
GOES 10 observed in February.  Hopefully the weather will be
better in early October (it usually is), when the sun is once
again at the same declination as these geostationary satellites
(for those of us in the northern hemisphere).
  Finally, since some of you enjoyed my posting last month about
Mare Orientale on the "real" moon, I'd like to point out that the
lunar libration will again be favorable for seeing this huge
impact feature on March 22 (it should be visible on the 21st and
23rd, too).
  Cheers, Rich Keen
  Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado, USA (39.877 N, 105.391 W,
elevation 2728m)