Re: Many consecutive visible ISS passes

From: Edward S Light (
Date: Sun Aug 05 2001 - 14:48:48 PDT

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    Recently, the question was asked regarding the maximum number of
    consecutive ISS passes visible in the same night (i.e. sunset to
    the next sunrise).  It seems to me that for such maxima to occur,
    it helps if the satellite is in constant sunlight during its entire
    orbit and I was curious how often this arises.
    Using simplifying assumptions (e.g. refraction is ignored  and
    the earth's shadow is a right circular cylinder of radius in the
    range 6356.75 - 6378.14 km), I found that since its launch, the ISS
    has had episodes of being in sunlight the entire orbit a couple of
    times or so each year:
                "Maybe"         Definitely
         1998 Nov 23-Nov 25      Nov 24
         1999 Jan 20-Jan 22   Jan 20-Jan 22
         1999 Jun 18-Jun 23   Jun 19-Jun 23
         1999 Nov 17-Nov 18
         2000 Jan 13-Jan 17   Jan 13-Jan 16
         2000 Jun 08-Jun 13   Jun 09-Jun 12
         2001 Jan 02-Jan 06   Jan 03-Jan 06
         2001 May 31-Jun 05   Jun 01-Jun 04
         2001 Jul 31-Aug 01
    (The "Maybe" dates are assuming the satellite is always at
     its apogee and the earth's shadow radius is 6356.75 km;
     the "Definitely" dates assume a shadow radius of 6378.14 km
     and the ISS being at its perigee.)
    I just though this would be of interest.
    Clear and dark skies!
    Ed Light
    Lakewood, New Jersey, USA
    40.1075N, 074.2312W, +24m (80 feet)
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Aug 05 2001 - 14:50:48 PDT