# RE:TiPS and Vanguard 3

From: Steve Newcomb (snewcomb@gcnetmail.net)
Date: Sun Aug 15 2004 - 22:02:24 EDT

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```How far apart do the two components of TiPS get?  How bright are Ralph and
Norton (the two components)?
Eric Briggs

TiPS consists of two small bodies connected by a 4 km long tether. The lower
body is called "Ralph" and has a mass of 37.6 kg, and the upper one is
called "Norton" (10.4 kg).  I have seen Ralph flash at times to a 5 mag.
Norton at times at 8 to 9 mag, at other times not visible. I have been
observing with an 8 inch dobs using a 40mm eyepiece for 30x. Tether is
easily visible. I would guess the visual angular separation at 45 degree
elevation is .15 degree. On an upward pass the tether appears to shrink.
Once observed near 80 degree elevation and would guess the separation to be
.05 degree or less. At zenith with one sat above the other tether is at zero
lenght visually, although I have not been able to track this high. It has an
apogee of 1193 km and perigee of 789 km with inclination of 63.4. Info from
Heavens Above.
With the additional info above will someone provide me with the formula to
calculate apparent visual length of tether depending on elevation above
horizon and altitude? I think with some time I could figure it out. On the
horizon the 2 sats are 4 km apart and x far away with a visual tether
angular separation of y...

Lat. 39.4707 Lon. -79.3388 Alt. 2753 ft. -4 UTC

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