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STS/Hubble visual from NC.



  
Approximately 34 minutes after Hubble's release Saturday evening, from here 
near 
Winston-Salem,NC at 23:36z we too had a clear visible pass of the two 
spacecraft
due south at 28 degrees elevation.  Shortly before our sighting though, 
NASA-TV 
reported the every widening distance between them was only 800 feet.  What 
was 
fun doing during our visual shortly after that distance report, was to see if 
while hand
tracking our 5" Celestron SCT telescope we hoped we might actually perceive 
that 
spacing, And we did, using a 26mm eyepiece.  From here in NC with binoculars
though it was not possible to see that small a distance this far down range.  
Hubble
was very bright and shuttle was very dim since its dark underside was facing 
west
to the sun and not it's white top side.  Also very interesting to see from 
here during
our very brief visual on their next pass at 01:15z low on our western 
horizon, was the
waste water dump that was in progress at the time.  I had noticed some rapidly
moving particles during a cargo bay view on NASA-TV and remembered they would
be dumping for a while longer.  So I whipped out my trusty copy of Quiktrack 
for what
it's worth for it's last few days of  function and it indicated they would be 
briefly visible
on our western horizon during the dump.  My hunch paid off and we did see the 
dump,
as I'm sure folks around Houston and other points west had a spectacular view 
of the
dump.  From here looking sort of head on at the spacecraft approaching and 
the waste
water being spewed in a westerly direction as was seen on NASA-TV,  the 
spacecraft
now with its short cometary looking tail reminded me of what I had seen of 
comet Hale
Bopp in its early stages before getting very bright and elongated.  Anyway 
that's my 
story and I'm stickin to it.  Like many of you, I  too enjoy this sort of 
activity and hope
you enjoy reading my reports as much as I enjoy reading yours.
  
73 de Steve
K5PK@amsat.org
  
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