golf ball visual magnitude?

From: Tyler MacKenzie (tmackenz@mta.ca)
Date: Tue Mar 07 2006 - 11:14:38 EST

  • Next message: Greg Roberts: "Obs 06 March 2006"

    Somewhat OT, but:
    
    Anyone on the list care to estimate what the visual magnitude of a 
    golf ball would be if in a parallel orbit with the ISS? How long to 
    decay?
    
    CBC (state radio) in Canada reported last night on an upstart 
    Toronto-based golf equipment manufacturer (Element 21) that is 
    arranging to have a ball, club and special tee sent up to ISS for 
    "the longest drive in history" during an EVA this summer. Only an 
    expensive advertising stunt, of course.
    The interview had some questionable technical details, including the 
    ball staying in  orbit for "two to four years..." and it travelling 
    "at least a billion miles...". By my quick math, I think it would 
    take >6 years to go that far around the Earth.
    Any idea on how quickly such a low-weight to surface-area object 
    would decay? I find it hard to believe it could stay up for years. I 
    realise the drive could give it some delta-v, but I am guessing that 
    the 10 to 20 m/s that a space-suited golfer could give it would not 
    substantially change its orbit.
    
    In any event, likely very hard to observe.
    
    Back to lurking under horribly bright Montreal skies...
    -Tyler
    
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