Re: Tips

Sun, 24 Aug 97 15:01:53 PDT

James Wilson <> asked if TiPS is easy to observe.  Not
really.  It appears as a tiny, dim line, only about .1 deg long (sometimes
the line disappears altogether due to foreshortening on overhead passes).
The satellites at each end have reflectors that issue flashes, which
helps sometimes.

I suppose under optimal conditions you can see the flashes naked eye, but
that would be missing the point.  You want to see the tether, so use
binoculars or a scope.  I started with 7x50's, but now I use a 4.5 inch
newtonian exclusively for the tether, and for most other passes as well.
(I spend most time hunting down really dim debris pieces and other objects
with Radar Cross Sections (RCS) less than 1 sq meter, and my old binos can't
see those small objects).

Warning!  Tether-watching can be habit forming!  I can't seem to get
enough of it; 83 passes and counting (ouch!).  I hope that others who
haven't looked for it yet give it a try.  It's really incredible.
I've shown it to many people at star parties, and it's always a hit.

P.S.  If your background sky is bright, like in a big city, I don't know
if the tether will show up that well.  Any cityfolk tether-watchers care
to comment?  I know that skies near a full moon can wash it out.

Craig Cholar