A Splendid Farewell pass by Mir over Sydney Tonight

From: Pauls Pics (paulpics@easy.com.au)
Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 06:44:59 PST

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    Hi to you all,       report from Sydney, Northern Suburbs area, Thursday
    22nd March late pm.
    Patchy cloud over Sydney promised at least glimpses of Mir, up to an hour
    before the predicted time of 8.10pm for Mirs rise.  At 8pm the whole Sky
    cleared from NW, W to S and SE as if to guide Mir along its course. Mir
    seemed to be a little bit late but right on the predicted 'Heavens Above'
    track moving at quite a fast rate, at first it seemed a bit weak, like
    Wednesdays short  pass, but as it gained altitude to about 40 degrees in
    Eridanus, began to get very bright, but the distinctive yellow. I counted
    about 30 seconds timing my open camera for the 2nd shot SW then reset for
    South including the Southern Cross, Mir began to fade and with binoculars
    tracked it as far as the top of Triangulum Australis, but amazing change in
    colour to bright red, reflecting the hues from our usual sunset effects,
    getting deeper in colour and duller until it was lost to sight altogether at
    about 8.16pm.
     A fitting pass for its finale, and should have been easy for the public and
    layman to find and see. I will report on the Heavens above map and chart
    predictions when the film is printed and the imaged stars are
    compared,although by that time Mir will have met its fate.
     The report for Wednesday was disappointing, Mir was not bright at all, as
    in the past,and rather hard to find  the only redeeming fact was that it
    passed close West of the Pleiades and just right of Saturn so was 'found'
    for its brief rise into the shadow at 21 degees altitude, although it could
    be tracked , just, with binoculars for a way further,ending at about 8.32pm.
    Paul Shallow      Observations Coordinator   NSAS  ( Northern Sydney
    Astronomical Society)
    
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