Shuttle+Hubble Thursday evening Texas

Ed Cannon (
Fri, 24 Dec 1999 03:17:00 -0600

There was quite a bit of high variable partly-to-mostly cloudiness 
Thursday, but fortunately it cleared up enough for the time of the
Shuttle+Hubble pass over Texas about 0:54-55 Dec 24 UTC.  I was at 
friends' house west of town, a better site than either UT Austin
campus or my apartment.  TRMM pass higher than 80 degrees preceded
Shuttle+Hubble 70-degree pass by just a couple of minutes.  TRMM 
-- in quite a hurry of course -- grew quite bright after its 
culmination, possibly +0, and proved to be brighter than 
Shuttle+Hubble, which did not get to +1 until it/they was/were well 
past culmination.

My not-too-well informed speculations on faintness of Shuttle+Hubble:

1. Greater, possibly by 50%, distance between observer and Shuttle 
   than usual mission
2. Configuration such that for some passes HST shades Shuttle and/or
   Shuttle tail shades HST
3. HST solar panels not deployed (folded or rolled up)
4. Some passes with Shuttle's black (still black?) nose towards 
   observer, or the tail, with engine nozzles -- not very good 

Earlier saw two Iridium flares between clouds in twilight.

Location:  approx. 30.31N, 97.73W, 150m

Sure am glad we survived that monster full Moon!

Best wishes to all for clear and dark nights, happy holidays and 
glitch-free Y2K!

Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA

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