Sighting of TSS from near Sydney Australia

Anthony Beresford (
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 00:01:29 +1030

A Sighting reported by Glenn Dawes (
Hello all,

Just a brief note to let you know of my observation of this object this
evening (5/3). The writer observed with Ken Wallace, Joe Cauchi and Sue
Nour from a semi-rural area near Windsor (about 40 km NW of Sydney).
The satellite was picked up naked eye around 9:35 UT and was lost about one
min later as it passed into the earth's shadow. To the unaided eye (under
the light of the full moon) it appeared as a ghostly vertical line with no
obvious head; approx 5th magn. Through Binoculars (15X80), it filled half
the field ( over 1 deg) and the satellite showed a clear stellar head (at
the top; southern end) about the same brightness as the (un)tether. Despite
the known thickness of the (un)tether, through binoculars it appeared to
have a visible thickness (Ken described it 'like a rope'). The rope
appeared straight with no obvious bend. It reached its brightest approx. 15
secs before it began to dim into the earth's shadow (altitude around 20

As a small bonus, the shuttle (STS 75), came over about 2 mins after we
lost sight of TSS. It followed the same path as TSS but was much brighter
(2nd magn max.). We were able to follow it for about 2-3 mins; having been
able to pick it up at a lower altitude cf. TSS. It was lost into the
earth's shadow at approx. 9:41 UT.

Overall, I found it a spectacular and unique experience. I hope it stays up
long enough for more people to share this view. I have access to up-to-date
elements for the TSS and would be pleased to do customised predictions for
anyone who is interested. Because of its imminent demise, I believe, for
Sydney at least, the favourable viewing period may only last another week
(of course, Brisbane and north may have a little longer).

Good Luck observing