RE: Color of Lacrosse 1

Ted Molczan (
Tue, 3 Dec 1996 17:08:14 -0500

Bill Krosney asked:

>definite orange hue to it.  An interesting question, for those who have watched Lacrosse from its initial 
>deployment (Ted are you there?) has its' color faded over the years?

I do not know - I have not looked at it closely in several years.
I do recall that the shade of red appeared to vary somewhat from
pass to pass. Most of the time, it appeared yellow-orange, but on
occasion it seemed redder. It always appeared redder in binoculars.

I agree that brightness has an effect on perceived colour, probably
because many of us do not see well at the red end of the spectrum.
Observers who saw it in its original deployment orbit, only 454 km high,
reported that it looked very red, "like Mars". Of course even Mars' 
reddishness also spans quite a wide range, so it is not a good 

As an aside, one the reddest objects I have seen is ERBS (84108B/15354). 
If you can find a good colour photo of it on the ground, or just before 
deployment, you will see why it is so red.

Ted Molczan