Can Someone Predict This?

From: Art Glick (omb00900@mail.wvnet.edu)
Date: Tue Apr 16 2002 - 08:38:48 EDT

  • Next message: Mir16609@aol.com: "Re: Can Someone Predict This?"

    Hi Listers,
    
    Since I started lurking this list last year, I have been quite impressed at 
    the remarkable understanding and knowledge of orbital mechanics that many 
    of you have.  You're way past my own level.  I truly wish I had the time to 
    devote to get to the point where many of you are.
    
    I have a question that many of you should be able to answer, and it would 
    be interesting to see which of you can come the closest with your prediction.
    
    I have just learned that approximately 6 hours and 14 minutes after the 
    Shuttle is scheduled to undock from the ISS, it will make a very nearly 
    overhead pass here, and I'm wondering what the apparent distance will be 
    between them at this time.
    
    Heavens Above lists a difference of 14 seconds between the zenith of the 
    two  passes tomorrow night, which would, I suppose, suggest a separation of 
    about 20 degrees (a very rough guess) assuming that both objects are 
    traveling in the same line, but I wonder if H-A is taking into account 
    whatever engine burns are scheduled to take place between now and then.
    
    Interestingly, H-A also shows both objects reaching a zenith of 87 degress, 
    but it shows the azimuth of the zenith of the ISS pass as being WSW, 
    whereas the azimuth of the Shuttle pass is listed as just West.
    
    H-A has been fairly accurate for me, but in this case I decided to check 
    NASA's Skywatch.  Besides eventually crashing my MSIE, Skywatch predicts no 
    degree of separation during this pass tomorrow night.
    
    Worse yet, it reports a pass that's a whopping 44 minutes earlier!  I 
    recall H-A as being less than accurate on occasion with respect to the 
    Shuttle specifically, which I assumed to be due to the fact that some 
    maneuvering was not accounted for, and one would expect NASA to have the 
    most accurate data with respect to one of their own crafts.
    
    Apologies for this long message, and for not having the time to learn this 
    discipline the way that it should be learned, but I still truly enjoy 
    stepping outside in our clear West Virginia skies to see things, and the 
    ISS and Shuttle flying in tandem is surely one of my all time favorite sights.
    
    I'd like to tell me friends and neighbors to take a look, but now I'm not 
    sure when to tell them to look.  Our own location (in decimal) is 38.067 
    North, 80.434 West, and I'll bet that some of you all could tell me where 
    and when to look with even more accuracy that H-A and Skywatch combined!
    
    In particular, I'd be very interested in knowing what some of you would 
    expect to see in terms of the amount of separation between the two objects.
    
    Many Thanks and Best Regards,
    
    Art
    
    
    
    Almost Heaven Overseas
    HC 67  Box 539 BB
    Renick  WV  24966
    Phone 304-497-2610
    Fax 304-497-2698
    e-mail   art@almostheaven.net
    http://www.almostheaven.net/
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