Re: current elements for Progress M-47

From: Robert Holdsworth (
Date: Tue Feb 04 2003 - 12:35:38 EST

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    Nothing sighted on the orbit  of ISS at 1521Z. Cloud cover in the direction
    of travel prevented viewing- with  much less cloud in the West away from it!
    (apparently Murphy's law applies in astronomy....)
    Predicted mag was 0.7; an Iridium flare of magnitude -6 was predicted for a
    few minutes later and was not clearly visible- I thought I saw a slight
    brightening behind cloud but cannot be certain.
    The next pass at 1654Z was successful - no cloud cover in the area of AOS
    though LOS over the horizon was  not seen owing to cloud cover plus a
    brightening dawn sky.
    Magnitude seemed initially brighter than the predicted 0.8 but was probably
    correct for maximum altitude - after an initial brightening it seemed to
    decrease rather than increase, probably owing to the increasing daylight.
    At one stage it seemed that the configuration of the station  was visible
    (naked eye viewing.) This would make sense as at the time I would have been
    getting a side view from my position.   As it appeared as one object rather
    than two it appears likely that the docking has taken place- unless the
    apparent view of the configuration was the two objects very close together.
    It is fortunate that today happens to be the first in  a series of having
    two passes per day- until now it has been one per day since I started
    observing- though because many are early morning I will not be observing
    them all!
    The height chart on Heavens Above shows that the height of the ISS  is
    possibly reaching the point where a
    boost will be necessary?    It seems that even if the station becomes
    unmanned  while shuttle problems are worked on,  NASA does not intend it to
    decay.  (Interesting point-  is the boost done from the ground or by the
    crew?-  if the latter it would mean it could not be done while unmanned.)
    Robert Holdsworth
    New Zealand
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Robert Holdsworth" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 9:18 PM
    Subject: Re: current elements for Progress M-47
    > Docking is due at  8:50 a.m. CST (1450 GMT.)
    > There is a pass here about 40 mins later (very early morning - Wednesday!-
    > our time but such is life and I don't want to miss the opportunity!)  and
    > another on the next orbit so I will be observing with interest- if weather
    > permits- lately cloud has been an obstacle to viewing.
    > If you don't see a report within the next 12 hours you will know I didn't
    > see anything or that it wasn't significant!
    > Robert Holdsworth
    > Wainuiomata
    > New Zealand
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