TiPS tips

Paul L. Sventek (
Sat, 29 Jun 1996 12:28:01 -0600

I've observed the TiPS satellite on four passes over Calgary and can offer
the following comments and suggestions:

TiPS should become a very popular object to watch for its unusual and unique
appearance and characteristics. If you like to observe unusual objects like
Japan's EGP, you'll add TiPS to your list.

I have found that if you want to see the tether easily, go for passes where
the illumination phase angle (sun-sat-observer) is LESS than 90 degrees. I
have seen passes where the tether seems to glow it's so "bright" (5-6th
mag). This occurred with phase angles in the <45 degree range.

If you want to see the flashes the ends or near ends of the satellite seem
to exhibit, I've seen them best when the tether is subdued in appearance,
and that seems to take place when the illumination phase angle is GREATER
than 90 degrees.

The next problem I'm struggling with is the tether's orientation relative to
its direction of movement across the sky. The first time I saw the object,
the tether was oriented exactly with its direction of movement. This morning
(Sat Jun 29), however, I could swear I saw the tether perpendicular to its
direction of movement, and this orientation changed as it crossed the sky.
This has got to be a perspective thing, but I can't convince myself of this
completely. I'll just have to watch some more. I'd sure like to see other
comments on this object.

Most of my observations have been with 11x80 binoculars.

                                    Paul L. Sventek