Columbia water dump

From: Willie Koorts (wpk@saao.ac.za)
Date: Thu Jan 23 2003 - 02:37:19 EST

  • Next message: Greg Roberts: "Obs 22 Jan 2003"

    Hi Folks
    
    After Ted's alert of possible water dumps from STS-107, I made an extra
    effort to observe it last night since I had a 42 elevation pass predicted
    for my site, just over 20 minutes after the end time of the scheduled
    dump.
    
    Unfortunately, I saw no sign of a water dump, not even in binoculars.  I
    also alerted a few friends, some living up country who had visibility of
    the previous orbit when the scheduled water dump was in progress.  I'm
    still waiting for the latter's reply but all others were negative as well.
    
    Conclusion:  
    - The dump was not done to schedule - could the air conditioning problems 
      they experience at present have anything to do with this?
    - The ice sublimates quicker than we thought - someone here suggested it 
      lasting several orbits?
    
    The night before (Tuesday, 21 Jan) I had a 70 elevation pass which was
    quite spectacular to watch.  The Shuttle appeared slightly reddish,
    comparing well to Betelgeuse and Saturn in colour and brightness.  What
    was remarkable was how "blood"-red it became (naked eye) when going into
    shadow just after culmination, the reddest I've ever seen a satellite
    become!  No cargo-bay lights were seen.
    
    With last night's pass, the satellite appeared much more white and perhaps
    more bright (but since I was using binoculars at times, I'm not to sure
    about the brightness).  Both nights were basically cloudless with perhaps
    a hint of cirrus last night.
    
    Well, I still have relatively good passes predicted every night (at the
    same time!) till the end of the month, so I'll keep watching and alert
    you if I see anything.
    
    Although I cannot beat Scott's 40 "comet", my 25 observation back in 1998 
    still ranks as one of my most unforgettable satellite observations ever! 
    http://satobs.org/seesat/Dec-1998/0190.html
    
    Clear skies
    Willie
                          		 Willie Koorts
    
           Cape Town,  Observatory   33d 56' 03"S   18d 28' 36"E   GMT + 2h
           Wellington, South Africa  33d 38' 56"S   19d 00' 52"E   GMT + 2h
    
           For - Amateur Astronomy - Telescope Making - Satellite Tracking -
                       Visit  ....   http://www.saao.ac.za/~wpk/
    
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