TiPS obs + NOSS 2-3 brightening

Jim Varney (
Sat, 20 Jul 1996 09:50:08 -0700

TiPS observed at 0512 UT July 20 at 239 deg Az and 64 deg Alt(culm).  Orien-
tation was 20 deg from vertical with lower mass leading.  As it sank into
the south, the angle shrank down to perhaps 5 degress with the lower mass
leading (left of vertical).  To me this would indicate that both masses and
the tether were in the plane of the orbit -- at the moment I saw it at

Mike McCants' observations would indicate that TiPS is swinging back and
forth.  Obviously residual energy left over from deployment.  Eventually
these oscillations will dampen and leave TiPS in a vertical orientation --
if dampening happens prior to TiPS' descent into lower orbits where there
is significant drag.

NOSS 2-3 Trio: was observed shortly after TiPS, from Corona Borealis to
the south.  As has been reported for other NOSS trios, NOSS 2-3 brightened
as it went lower in altitude.  At roughly 45 degrees altitude NOSS could
be seen with the naked eye at roughly mag 5.  It became a little brighter,
maybe mag 4 at alt 30 deg.  At this point the phase angle was around 25
degrees.  This suggests that these objects are "tall," pointed towards
the geocenter.  They are dim overhead because we see the "small" ends.
Hope this makes sense :)
Walter Nissen asked:

>Has anyone answered Jay's question as to the point along the line to use 
>for astrometic position measurements? 

Well, in a previous note I said the center of mass in the TiPS system is
located 1 km up the tether from the lower mass.  Visually this would be
a point one fourth the way up from the lower payload.

However, since we don't know yet about what point the system is oscillating,
I would suggest making measurements at the center of the tether for now.

 -- Jim

Jim Varney      |  121^ 23' 54" W,  38^ 27' 28" N   |           Sacramento, CA
Member, SeeSat-L|            Elev. 31 ft.           |