FWD> Tether brightness and

Fri, 15 Mar 96 16:12:39 -0800

FWD> Tether brightness and analysis
To seesat-l@iris01.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de
CC RMN@aaocbn2.aao.gov.au

Stephen Thompson wrote

>In a previous life I was a variable star observer, mostly
with binoculars. 
>I observed eclipsing binaries, cepheids and long period
'Mira type' stars. 
>One of the techniques that I used often was to compare the
>brightness of the out of focus disks of stars.
>It should be possible to do the same with the tether.  This
would not 
>necessarily give the same results as photometric or CCD
measurements, but a 
>comparison of the surface brightness of the out of focus
tether with the 
>surface brightness of equally out of focus reference star
images would 
>probably give reproducible results that would at least be
quantified.  One 
>pitfall of this method is that it is sensitive to the
colors of stars so it 
>would be best to use reference stars that are about the
same color as each 
>other, and if possible the tether.  To do this right would
require that all 
>observers use the same reference star series.

Stephen's comment contains part of the truth but I'm afraid
that whilst you
can resolve the length of the tether there is no easy way of
getting around
the problem of a star being effectively 0-dimensional and
the tether
1-dimensional. This is made most apparent by imagining what
happens when you
defocus the sky (2-dimensional); it stays the same surface
brightness.  The
tether will thus still be intermediate between the 0-D and
2-D cases,
disappearing more gradually than a star as you defocus.

However there IS a way to get around this by making the
tether as 0-dimensional
as possible.  With the tether having an intensity per unit
length (actual
length, not angular) one must somehow measure the total
light.  It is perhaps
possible to condense the image of the tether to a nearly
stellar point using a
strongly curved convex mirror or hub-cap or reversing your
binoculars.  This
is the same technique as used in estimating the magnitude of
the eclipsed Moon.
If the tether were still resolved in reversed binoculars,
defocusing WOULD
work, as you are then spreading the TOTAL light, not just a
segment.  There are
several such technique used by comet observers and with some
care this could
produce quite reasonable results

There is one other complication in analysing the brightness.
 As I assume the
tether can be likened to a cylinder, it is thus capable of
producing specular
reflections with the right geometry.  However such a
geometry cannot occur at
night if the tether is vertical.  With knowledge of the
surface roughness,
this effect could be predicted.  It is thus necessary to use
the angle of the
Sun relative to the specular condition in addition to the
phase angle.

One final thought.  As the specular condition can only occur
in daytime for a
vertical tether, could it be bright enough to become

Rob McNaught

Mail From:
Rcpt To: <John_Kiffmeyer@machome.com>
Received: from mpehp1.mpe-garching.mpg.de ([])
by globalcenter.net with SMTP id <8097>; Thu, 14 Mar 1996
16:52:16 -0800
Received: from iris01.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de by
mpehp1.mpe-garching.mpg.de with SMTP
	( id AA27504; Fri, 15 Mar 1996 00:44:40
Received: by iris01.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de
	for @mpehp1.mpe-garching.mpg.de:KAllen5@aol.com id AA09723;
Fri, 15 Mar 96 00:37:04 +0100
Resent-Date:  Fri, 15 Mar 1996 10:38:07 +1100 (EST)
Date:	 Fri, 15 Mar 1996 10:38:07 +1100 (EST)
From: 	"Robert H. McNaught, Anglo-Australian Observatory"
To: 	seesat-l@iris01.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de
CC: 	RMN@aaocbn2.aao.gov.au
Message-Id: <960315103807.20c004b1@aaocbn2.aao.gov.au>
Resent-To: <John_Kiffmeyer@machome.com>
Subject:  Tether brightness and analysis
Resent-Message-Id: <"YeWlf1.0.sN2.UsAIn"@iris01>
Resent-From: seesat-l@iris01.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de
X-Mailing-List: <seesat-l@iris01.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de>
X-Loop: seesat-l@iris01.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de
Precedence: list