Mir Debris

spaceman (spaceman@tiac.net)
Fri, 7 Jun 1996 18:04:13 -0400


FYI Marek Kozubal and I were imaging Mir at high resolution during the
6/7/96 pass over Boston at 02ish UTC- we later found out that during this
pass many observers noticed various trash items that had apparently been
discarded from Mir.

Unfortunately the field of view of our high resolution camera is only about
100 arc seconds wide, so we were only able to view Mir, and a few hundred
meters surrounding the spacecraft.  We noticed no extraneous debris
associated with the spacecraft down to magnitude appx 10 (again, only within
appx 100-200 meters of the complex).  

If anyone is interested we can image a wide field (over 10 degrees wide) the
next good pass, and we are able to integrate the image to detect any faint
objects.  Has anyone computed the dispersion rate of these objects?  I would
guess that they will pull ahead of Mir rather rapidly, due to their high
drag/mass ratio.  Will be cloudy here in Boston for a few days, next attempt
may be Tuesday.

Also, does anyone know where we can find an up-to-date diagram for the Mir
configuration?  Our video shows a progress/soyuz vehicle at the sofora end
of the Mir main module... didn't expect one to be there!  


Ron Dantowitz
Hayden Planetarium
Museum of Science, Boston