Re: ISS eclipses

From: Mike Waterman (
Date: Tue Jun 19 2001 - 01:29:44 PDT

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    Tom Wagner wondered if one could observe an eclipse {strictly an
    occultation] of a star by a satellite.
    I might have observed a naked eye eclipse of Arcturus by a sunlit 
    73027A (=Skylab) at on 770519 at 224920.8 UT. A friend a few hundred 
    metres to the east saw a near miss. Any eclipse would not have lasted
    more than 0.004s, but later experiments at the Farnham Astronomical
    society showed that an eclipse that brief could be seen.
    ISS is much brighter, and probably too bright to cause an observable
     sunlit eclipse of Sirius, but not big enough to eclipse Venus.
    However eclipses while ISS in darkness should certainly be
    observable. Duration 1 to 5 msec when high in the sky.
    Note that if the ISS is at low elevation then the duration of
    eclipse could be much longer. For example at 5deg elevation on
    a pass that goes overhead the eclipse would be about 10 times
    Mike Waterman
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