Re: STS-77 Reentry Observed (!)

Joe Eiers (
Wed, 29 May 1996 15:13:40 GMT

On Wed, 29 May 1996 04:35:14 -0700, you wrote:
 I agree!  What an expereince!!  This too was a first re-entry for me
as well.  I put the magnitude a bit higher - closer to perhaps -10 or
so (based on a number of bolides I have seen along with comparing it
with the magnitude of the moon) and the ion trail so bright that it
was brilliant to the naked eye from downtown Sacramento, Ca. The ion
trail was indeed horizon to horizon and persisted even up to the sonic
boom about 5 minutes later (but by then it was much dimmer - but still
brighter than the non-existant milky-way).  Although I didn't notice
any windows breaking either, the boom was definate and obvious.
 For me, it was an event of a lifetime, right up there with the total
solar eclipse in Baja and Hyakutake.
  A MUST for everyone!

>Space Shuttle Endeavour put on a great show here in Northern California during
>Very bright orange-red, perhaps mag -5 or -6; bright white ion trail that 
>persisted from horizon to horizon.  The ion trail was singular, mottled 
>in appearance, no "twisting" noted.  The trail lasted about one minute 
>before fading from view.  Sonic boom was soft; windows did not rattle, 
>just roused a few neighborhood dogs from their slumber.
>Predicted track was off by quite a bit.  The predicted track had the pass 
>nearly zenithal for me through Lyra; instead the shuttle crossed through
>Aquila, about 25 degrees to south.
>I shot some 8mm video.  The orange-red color registered on the tape; ion 
>trial is visible on playback as well.  The shuttle was so bright that it 
>overloaded the CCD in my camera...!
>This is the first reentry I have seen, and it definitely lives up to all of
>the superlatives ascribed to them.  Great show.
> -- Jim
>Jim Varney      |  121^ 23' 54" W,  38^ 27' 28" N   |           Sacramento, CA
>Member, SeeSat-L|            Elev. 31 ft.           |

Joe Eiers
1st Grade Teacher, Sacramento, Ca.
Backyard Amateur Astronmer
"Have portable refractor will travel"
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