RE: ISS in 10x30 binoculars

From: Fred Valcho (
Date: Thu Mar 19 2009 - 16:11:09 UTC

  • Next message: Marcus Clark: "FW: NOSS Flare Text Files"

         I have observed the ISS and shuttle several times using a 10x50
    pair of binoc's. You can see detail depending on atmospheric conditions
    and view point. To answer your questions, I have referenced these two
    sources. You may have seen witnesssed water waste dumping - it will turn
    into ice crystals and should/might reflect sunlight if  it is are not in
    a shadow, or the engines being engaged. I have not witnessed these
    events myself. I missed the pass you watched. Darn!
    My Location - Tracy, CA and a good viewing sight from my house, too!
    "Viewing Tips
    For best results, observers should look in the direction and at the
    elevation shown in the appearing column at the time listed. Because of
    the speed of the orbiting vehicles, telescopes are not practical.
    However, a good pair of field binoculars may reveal some detail of the
    structural shape of the spacecraft."
    Also --
    "I also had the chance to observe the previous pass (16/10/00 22h21 -
    UT) and I noticed that the sky around the complex was a bit darker that
    background. This darkening was not uniform around the complex but looked
    more like irregular spikes. I was observing this almost overhead pass
    8x56 binoculars. It was very subtle and I put this observation on the
    account of an optical illusion. But after seeing the next pass I'm
    if this wasn't the water vapor of the engines? Does anyone know if the
    engines were on or activated near that time."
    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] 
    Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 4:14 AM
    Subject: ISS in 10x30 binoculars
    I watched the ISS & Shuttle pass over southern Wisconsin Tuesday night.
    It was a high pass, about 50 degrees and across the western sky.  I was
    watching with Canon 10x30 IS image stabilized binoculars.  I was
    standing and leaning way back to get the ISS/Shuttle in the FOV and even
    with the image stabilization, the view was pretty jumpy.
    Despite this, I had the distinct impression that the ISS/Shuttle pair
    were oblong.  They seemed to be stretched out more or less in the
    direction of their orbital motion.  I would estimate they were 1.5-2
    times wider horizontally than vertically.
    Stars in the FOV were pinpoints.  I wasn't wearing my glasses and I have
    a little bit of astigmatism, but that usually shows up as a narrow
    downward spike.  The ISS/Shuttle combo were much brighter than the
    background stars, so irradiation may have "broadened out" the image a
    bit, but still the combo looked distinctly oblong.
    Is the ISS/Shuttle pair large enough to show a tiny amount of detail
    during a high pass with 30mm binocs at a magnification of 10?
    Dave Mullenix
    Subscribe/Unsubscribe info, Frequently Asked Questions, SeeSat-L
    Subscribe/Unsubscribe info, Frequently Asked Questions, SeeSat-L archive:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Mar 19 2009 - 16:12:13 UTC