Chasing CALIPSO, Catching A-Train

From: Gregg Hendry (
Date: Wed Jun 03 2009 - 06:07:59 UTC

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    I went out the morning of 5/28 to observe and photograph laser beams
    from CALIPSO and set up at a location 500 meters east of the predicted
    LIDAR track (1430 meters east of the sub-satellite track).  Humidity
    at ground level was high but the atmosphere was clear.  A second or so
    before the LIDAR pass I saw a disappointing small green flash near
    zenith typical of clear atmosphere passes seen from off track.  About
    a second later however a nice sweep of 6 or more pale green beams
    filled my field of view to the west.  The beams were at least 30
    degrees long.
    Unfortunately the camera did not record any beams or spots in the
    atmosphere but did pick up two separate flashes coincident with the
    satellite track.  ISO 6400 at f/2.8 is not fast enough to capture
    beams in a clean, clear atmosphere, 500 meters off track..
    As a consolation, the A-Train constellation of satellites was
    illuminated and tracks from both CloudSat and CALIPSO can be teased
    out of the same 30 X 50 degree image containing the flashes.  Neither
    satellite was seen by eye but I easily noticed Aqua passing over about
    a minute ahead of the CALIPSO event.
    Images from the event can be seen at:
    The LIDAR track was from:
    Gregg Hendry
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