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Re: visibility




Yes, you can see many low earth orbit satellites quite easily with the 
unaided eye (weather and ambient light permitting).
It has been said that you could easily see the sun glinting off of an 
automobile hubcap placed into LEO with the unaided eye, so something as 
big as a 0.6M cube ought to be easy to see.

To see a satellite at night, go outside after local sunset and look up 
and to the EAST.  The west facing side of the satellite will be 
illuminated by the sun.
After midnight, and toward morning you want to look to the WEST , as the 
east side of the satellite will be illuminated by the sun.

Close to midnight, you will only see LEO satellites when they are fairly 
close to the horizon (they pass into the earth's shadow quickly), so the 
best viewing is several hours after sunset and several hours before sunrise.

Some are not very bright objects and city dwellers will have a hard time 
seeing them. Some are highly reflective and are easily seen. If you live 
in the countryside you will probably have great satellite viewing on any 
clear night.

Satellites in high inclination prograde orbits will typically appear to 
be moving roughly southeast to northwest on ascending passes and from 
the northeast to southwest on descending passes.

With a little practice, you will soon learn to spot many satellites on 
any clear night. the trick is to look up, and to keep your back to the 
sun, so you can see the illuminated side of the spacecraft.

It is a very neat thing to see a satellite go from "day" to "night" 
right before your eyes, and in some cases you can see them flicker a bit 
as they tumble.

On a good night with clear skys in the countryside of Ohio, I used to be 
able to count dozens of LEO sats in a short time with no trouble at all. 
I now live outside of Wasinghton DC and the city lights prevent me from 
doing a lot of skywatching, but I *have* looked up casually and have 
seen objects that were clearly in orbit pass over.

Anyone have a count for naked eye objects in LEO ?

Glen


Graham Shirville wrote:

>I have been asked a question about visibility of a satellite in orbit.
>
>Would anyone care to comment as to how easy it would be to see a microsat
>perhaps 600x600x600mm cube (that's a 2 foot cube in some parts of the world)
>in a 600km sun synchronous orbit, assuming four faces are 50% at least
>covered with solar cells.
>
>Thanks
>
>
>Graham G3VZV
>
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>  
>

-- 
Glen E. Gardner, Jr.
AA8C
AMSAT MEMBER 10593
Glen.Gardner@verizon.net


http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze24qhw/index.html



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