ISS Visibility during Total Eclipse

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Mon Mar 27 2006 - 16:25:15 EST

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    I was asked to post an update for the possible visibility of the ISS during 
    the total eclipse of the sun on 29-MAR-06 for southern Turkey as some folks 
    out there want to spare a few of their precious eclipse seconds looking out 
    for the ISS. The following is for the place where the center line hits the 
    coast (Side) which is where many eclipse watcher will congregate. The weather 
    outlook seems to be good so it might actually work (has anybody ever observed 
    an artificial satellite while watching a total eclipse at the same time?).
    Given is the time in UT, (Azimuth, Elevation) and an estimate of magnitude.
    	10:54:30	(310,34)		mag -0.4	
    	10:55:00	(309,52)		mag 0
    	10:55:15	(307,66)		mag 0.5
    	10:55:30	(296,83)		mag 1.2
    	10:55:45	(141,79)		mag 1.8
    	10:56:00	(135,62)		mag 1.4
    	10:56:30	(133,40)		mag 0.6
    	10:57:00	(133,27)		mag 0.3
    	10:57:30	(132,19)		mag 0.2
    I tried to factor in the degree of eclipse as viewed from the ISS and also the 
    illumination of the ISS by the non-umbral parts of the Earth so the given 
    magnitudes are certainly up for debate - I don't claim them to be perfect! 
    Hopefully we get some reports about it. My guess is that the actual contrast 
    doesn't vary too much because when the ISS is brighter it will also be in a 
    brighter part of the sky and when it is darkest (the greatest eclipse as seen 
    by the ISS is around 10:55:40 UT) it happens to be in the relatively darkest 
    part of the sky. The situation is somewhat similar for the whole coastal 
    stretch between Antalya and Alanya although Antalya seems to have a slight 
    egde as totality there starts about 30 sec earlier. Further to the North or 
    South the ISS arrives too early or too late with regard to the umbra on the 
    ground. I don't think you would have any realistic chance to see it there.
    Between 10:48 UT and 10:55 UT a transit of the ISS in front of the partially 
    eclipsed sun can be seen along a line from Liverpool via Cologne to Istanbul 
    but most people who would normally care about something like that seem to 
    have travelled down into the path of totality (I'm one of the few left behind 
    so it seems!)
    Even though the ISS does not make it into totality (too bad they skipped the 
    maneuver two weeks ago!) the crew (or maybe a remotely controlled external 
    camera) might still be able to briefly glimpse the corona if the part of the 
    sun still illuminated happens to be blocked by some external structure (like 
    the solar panels). As there is no light scattering atmosphere up there to 
    interfere this would be an impromptu coronograph. 
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
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