Tether Puzzlement

Sue J. Worden (worden@uts.cc.utexas.edu)
Fri, 15 Mar 1996 19:26:40 -0600

> From: Scott Wilson <wilson@scuch8.psc.sc.edu>
> Subject: TSS in the morning
> To: seesat-l@iris01.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de (seesat)
> Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 16:17:00 -0500 (EST)
> [ ... ]
> BTW, how thick is the tether?  It looked from the shuttle pictures that 
> it's 6 to 8 inches thick.  It's amazing you can see the tether at all.  
> Being covered with white material probably helps.


According to the specs on the web, the tether is only 2.54 millimeters
outer diameter.  Material and cross-section wise, it's a cylindrical
core of Nomex, with sheathings of copper, Teflon, Kevlar, and Nomex,
in that order proceeding outward.  Reference web page:

   http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/tss1r/page_13.html

Question #1:  How can a 0.1 inch diameter x 12.4 mile length (approx)
cylinder appear to have the length-to-width ratio of a pencil?

Question #2:  How is it that we have been able to see something only
0.1 inch wide at ranges in the hundreds of miles?

--Sue Worden (worden@uts.cc.utexas.edu)