ISS-Shuttle Tail

From: Clement Drolet (
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 07:31:37 PDT

  • Next message: Tyler MacKenzie: "re: ISS-Shuttle Tail"

    I had the most amazing sight of the ISS+STS complex last night (16/10/00
    23h57 - 23h59 UT). The complex had a magnificient tail of about 3 degrees in
    a strongly C shaped curve like a hook. It reminded me one of those fishing
    flies. I'm I correct in assuming that this tail was the water vapor produced
    by the shuttle engines used to boost the ISS to an upper altitude? Can
    anyone explains me why it looked so strongly curved? It was so curved that
    the end of the tail was almost leading the complex!
    I also had the chance to observe the previous pass (16/10/00 22h21 - 22h27
    UT) and I noticed that the sky around the complex was a bit darker that the
    background. This darkening was not uniform around the complex but looked
    more like irregular spikes. I was observing this almost overhead pass with
    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 wondering
    if this wasn't the water vapor of the engines? Does anyone know if the
    engines were on or activated near that time.
    Clément Drolet
    Beaumont, Qc
    46d51m N   70d57m W
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