Re: NEAR Earth Swing-By

Mike McCants (
Sat, 10 Jan 1998 17:22:45 -0600 (CST)

I have reviewed the large QuickTime movie of the NEAR spacecraft
Earth Swing-By sun glint maneuvers and come up with the following
timeline.  The times are from 6:25 to 6:48UT Jan. 23.

Loctn  Time
---    ---   
MD     6:25  (JHUAPL)
NY,NJ  6:25  (NYC)
MA     6:26  (Boston)
IA     6:26.5 *
CO     6:27.5 (Co. Sprs, Denver)
IL     6:28  *
MD     6:30  (JHUAPL)
FL/GA  6:31  (N. Fla, S. GA)
GA     6:32  (Atlanta)
FL     6:33  (Miami)
LA     6:36  (New Orleans)
TX     6:37  (Hoston, Dallas)
TX     6:38  (San Antonio, Austin)
AZ     6:39  *
CA     6:40  (Los Angeles)
UT     6:42  (Salt Lake City)
CA     6:44  (San Francisco)
WA     6:46  (Seattle)
HA     6:48  (Hawaii)

Locations with a "*" might see a brief flash when the spacecraft
is changing attitude to the position for the next site.

Normal locations should see a "ramp up" and "ramp down" over
10 to 30 seconds since the space craft is maintaining a constant
attitude.  The circle of brightness will move roughly from
south to north over each location as the spacecraft moves from
south to north.

My guess is that at the start of this time the spacecraft will be
over the North Pacific at approximately latitude 40, longitude 150
west at a height of 13000 miles or so.  If so, it will be about
25 degrees up in the west from the East Coast, 40 to 50
degrees up from Texas or Colorado, and 70 or 80 degrees up
for the West Coast.  Since its inclination is 108, it will
be moving north and west as it moves to a lower height.

But I don't have a program that will handle an eccentricity
of 1.8, so there is a chance of a fairly large error in my guess.

Mike McCants