Apollo-Soyuz Visual Observation

From: michael p murphy <murph77_at_clearwire.net>
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2014 07:02:46 +0000

 I saw the two vehicles make a pass over Cincinnati, Ohio, the evening of
July 18th while they were docked.  The Cincinnati Astronomical Society held
their club meetings on the third Friday of the month back then, so we were
gathered at the club grounds west of Cincinnati (not at the Cincinnati
Observatory) for our meeting.  One of the members in attendance knew that
we were going to have a descending node pass, so the whole group took a
break from the meeting and went outside to observe the pass.

 I recall the fast rate of travel across the sky, and I also have a dim
memory of one end being brighter than the other, but that may not have in
fact been the case.  1975 was a long time ago!  Two days later, my father
and I drove across the Ohio river to Kentucky to observe another pass that
was supposed to be further south than the one I had observed on the 18th,
but we did not see the vehicles.  They were probably undocked at that
point, but I think the sky was hazy or cloudy.

 The Cincinnati Astronomical Society had a very active Moonwatch group in
1961, but their activity faded quickly when the guy who was the driving
force behind the group left the area.  In 1975, several members who were in
the Moonwatch group were still involved with the club, and at least one of
them could compute ephemerides using computers at Proctor and Gamble or the
GE jet engine plant.  I can't remember the name of the guy who provided the
information for the pass, but I recall seeing a print out on the old
fan-fold paper that was in vogue back then.  I was just getting into
satellite tracking then, having tried to understand a copy of "Fundamentals
of Astrodynamics" by Bate, Mueller and White. The book was given to me by a
cadet at the US Air Force Academy with whom I traded letters after my
parents picked him up on a very rainy, cold night in Cincinnati in '74
while he was hitchhiking in uniform.

 I better cut this off...  Sorry for the dissertation, Ted!

Mike Murphy
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