STS-86 Launch Obs for Maryland

J. Donald Gardner (fn470@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 12:23:06 -0400 (EDT)

Thanks to Quinn for posting the Launch Visibility Info.

Observed the V-shaped contrail at T+7:40 for about 10-15 secs
at Az ~140 deg and El ~5-6 deg.  It was about a -2 to -3 mag
about 10-15 arc-minutes in length (given that a full moon is 30 
arc-minutes).  It went behind a tree in my field of view but  
I could still see brief flickers of light.  Just as it should have
emerged from behind the tree it disappeared from view (T+8:30
and Main Engine Cut Off - MECO).  @#!$ tree.

Observed Mir at 06:20 EDT (10:20 UTC) 26 September.  Easily a -2 mag.
At 10:21:55 it passed just below beta-Orion.  STS-86 was supposed to 
pass just above Saturn at 10:31:30 UTC.  I could not observe it, probably
due to too much light (although Saturn was visible until; 10:36 UTC).

Don Gardner
Homepage -
76.8419 W, 39.1796 N, 37m ASL