Re: ISS STS111 OBS Flood lights!

From: Jonathan T Wojack (
Date: Thu Jun 13 2002 - 21:09:36 EDT

> My young son and I watched as the ISS and STS-111 passed over head 
> last 
> evening.  According to Heavens above it was to be a mag -1.9 
> combined pass.  
> They didn't account for the cargo bay flood lights that were on 
> bright.  Pass 
> started at 22:35 EDT at the Mag expected.  About half way through 
> the pass, 
> The flood lights in the cargo bay became visible.  If I had to 
> guess, I would 
> say at least mag -5.0 or brighter.  I was amazed to see such a 
> bright 
> display.  

Maybe I'm wrong (please correct me if I am), but I believe you saw a
flaring from ISS/STS-111.  If I remember correctly, the floodlights shine
at ~ magnitude +6.  If their brightness increased to -5, that would be an
increase of ~ 400x in intensity.  Because of this, I believe it was a
flare.  And such flares typically occur midway into a pass.  I saw a
similar phenomenon on Monday night, with the complex flaring to -3.  On
Tuesday night, I saw the thing through my telescope.  I could definitely
see structure!  It was huge!  I couldn't get a clean look because it was
a very high altitude pass (i.e., a high rate of angular speed), and when
it got down to the lower altitudes - and lower angular rates - it went
behind the clouds.

Jonathan Wojack

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Jun 25 2002 - 20:50:33 EDT