Re: FW: Columbia Sighting Opportunity]]

From: Jim Scotti (
Date: Tue Mar 12 2002 - 10:17:33 EST

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    I dragged myself outside at about 2AM here in Tucson and watched Columbia
    during it's re-entry last night.  It appeared starting at about 2:11 AM and
    was visible for less than 3 minutes.  I'd seen the shuttle before from here
    and it looked similar, though the shuttle itself was a bit more orange in
    color than I remembered it with the unaided eye.  With binocs, it appeared
    pink/orange/blue in color.  I watched the trail for a few minutes after the
    shuttle had disappeared below my horizon as it spread and started to distort
    into a wavey shape.  It's been a while since our last re-entry sighting
    opportunity here in Tucson.  Those high inclination ISS orbits just don't
    give you good re-entry ground tracks anywhere near the SW USA.  I was back in
    bed by 2:22 when I looked at my watch and got a chuckle before nodding off
    about how Columbia was about 10 minutes from the runway still - how "slow" it
    was in getting to Florida.... :-)))
    Jim Scotti                              
    Lunar & Planetary Laboratory 
    University of Arizona                
    Tucson, AZ 85721 USA           
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