Re: Shuttle visibility upon re-entry

From: Paul Bridges (
Date: Sun Nov 04 2007 - 21:25:30 UTC

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    Thanks Joe. 
    Yes, i'm in PST, but I just expressed it in EST to compare to the posted 
    undock time. At any rate, it sounds like there probably won't be visible 
    separation at that pass, but the good news is that you are saying they 
    should stay near each other in the sky for a couple days, and our 
    weather looks forgiving then.  Nice.
    > In a message dated 11/4/2007 2:03:19 PM Eastern Standard Time,  
    > writes:
    > I see the STS undock time is 5:32 EST. I have a superb  
    > horizon-zenith-horizon pass in my area (California) at 8:56 EST  
    > according to H.A..  If those times remain correct, is ~20 minutes  enough 
    > time to show a visible separation of STS/ISS to the human eye?   I just 
    > don't know how fast/far they move apart after separation.
    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > -----------
    > I'm not exactly sure what you mean here, since you are in California so  your
    > local time is Pacific not Eastern time.  The Shuttle/ISS duo will make  three 
    > southwest-to-northeast
    > passes over North America on Monday morning.  You will probably be  under the 
    > third pass,
    > which will come about three hours after undocking.  
    > Last December, there was a situation where the Shuttle and ISS undocked  
    > shortly before
    > a series of passes began over North America.  Folks here in the  east needed 
    > binoculars to 
    > clearly see the separation, but they were a little farther apart for the  
    > Central States and 
    > by the time they were passing over the Western US, the pair could be seen  as 
    > two 
    > distinct objects with the naked eye.  
    > In tomorrow morning's case, the final Seperation burn occurs, at 7:18 am  EST 
    > ( 12:18 UTC ).
    > That's 4:18 a.m. PST . . . the vehicles will be steadily separating  
    > thereafter, so I suspect
    > that you'll be able to see both objects without optical aid . . . probably  
    > separated by a degree
    > or less. Ultimately, the gap between the two will increase to about 26  
    > miles/42 kilometers, 
    > which means that on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, they should appear  
    > separated by 
    > about 18 to 20 degrees. 
    > -- joe rao 
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