Re: STS-90 Heard, Not Seen

Jim Varney (
Sun, 3 May 1998 21:38:03 -0700

Robert Sheaffer wrote:

> >but heard a single soft sonic boom at about 1550.  Child underwhelmed :)
> Same result in San Jose. Overcast was total. However, heard a single
> moderate-to-soft sonic boom at about 15:55:30. It sounded like a
> firecracker a few
> blocks away. 

At first I wondered why you heard the sonic boom after I did, even though 
you live to my southwest.

I did a quick calculation and I estimate the shuttle was at approximately 
30 degrees elevation in San Jose.  I live close to the ground track and so 
my pass was very nearly zenithal.  Your slant range was at least 50 miles 
longer, which divided by the speed of sound, explains the 5 minute 
difference in our audio observations.

Now if we can just convince NASA that we need another 39 deg mission, 
preferably one that comes in at *night*...

Jim Varney
Member, Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society