Observation of STEREO launch by Paul Maley

From: Mike McCants (mmccants@io.com)
Date: Sun Oct 29 2006 - 17:53:23 EST

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    I have received the following report from Paul Maley.
    He requested that I post it to the list.
    Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006
    One of the toughest observations yet. I am currently aboard the
    cruise ship CROWN PRINCESS sailing from Port Canaveral to New York.
    I observed naked eye part of the in flight sequence of the STEREO
    Delta rocket flight. I was nearly ready to give up after reaching
    the end of the 15 minute launch window (or so I thought).  I first
    caught sight of two objects coming from behind the main stack of the
    ship as we steamed northeast. My position was closer than 136 nmi.
    from Port Canaveral which I logged at 0211UT on 26 Oct. At that time
    the ship was at 30 deg 00.57m N, 78 deg 54.57m W.
    I first saw two objects moving right to left (SSW to SE) at 0154UT.
    The trailing fainter one made 3 tumbles and I never saw it again.
    The brighter was about 2.5 magnitude and briefly went into a small
    cloud; then I could see a contrail emanating from it.  It eventually
    after a minute and a half reached -4 magnitude with an orange trail
    9 degrees long.  I was looking at the aft end of the rocket which was
    quite unexpected since I had not read the trajectory sequence information.
    It burned out at 015430 followed by a small flash 11 seconds later.
    Again, observation was made with the unaided eye from Deck 8 of the ship.
    All the while I was being hit by a 35 knot wind.
    Paul Maley
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