ISS, Mir and TiPS

Date: Sat Feb 24 2001 - 13:52:41 PST

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    As Dennis Jones previously posted, The ISS and the Mir made visible passes in the eastern USA last evening.
    The ISS rose in the NW at 23:59 UTC, 23 February. As it approached Cassiopeia its brightness was about -1.5, not quite as bright as Jupiter.  I picked it up with my 6" dob as it passed near alp-Gemini (90az, 60el) at 00:01:40 UTC, 24 February.  It looked very different that my last good pass - prior to Destiny.  It appeared to be as a small disk/sphere about the same size as Jupiter (~ 40 sec of arc).  Perhaps my diffraction spikes are now converging :-).  Also - it was a light blue color.  The new solar panels must have been shielded by the ISS.  
    The Mir passes just below Venus (270az, 20el) at 00:28 UTC, 24 February.  It reached no more than +2.0 mag.  
    TiPS passed just to the right of eps-Cassiopeia at 02:07 UTC.  For the 20 seconds or so that I tracked it with the dob I saw the tether for only a 1-2 second period.  It's still there.  Part of the fun of observing TiPS is watching the tether and the 2 end objects fade in and out.  It's definitely one of the flakier objects in LEO.
    Don Gardner  39.1799 N, 76.8406 W, 100m ASL
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