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Re: visual sighting of amateur satellites



On Wednesday 05 November 2008 21:59:59 Jim Danehy wrote:
> I have often seen the ISS in the evening sky. Its elevation is about 200
> miles up. It is a fairly large object measuring more than 310 feet wide and
> 225 feet long. It is about 150 feet in height. It is too big to fit into a
> football field at 310' x 225'. It is quite the sight. A couple of weeks ago
> after I worked Richard I saw the ISS by stepping outside. It was a great
> dark morning and the ISS probably had the brightness on the solar scale of
> 1. The sun is -27 and the brightest object for us on earth. The -27 being
> the bright side ; as you go to a more positive number the object is dimmer.
>
> AO 51 is about 25 cm on a side. That is about the size of a sack of
> groceries. I do not know the exact height of AO 51 but I know it is higher
> than the ISS (200 miles). I think AO 51 is about 250 to 300 miles up.
>
> I believe it is impossible to get a visual sighting of something that small
> at that height. There are thousands of objects in orbit around our earth. A
> bag of groceries at 300 miles up would take more seeing ability than a
> human set of eyes can provide.
>
> Jim W9VNE

I've often wondered about this--I have no direct knowledge on this, but
what you say seems reasonable.

Except that I'm pretty sure that US Air Force people saw Sputnik.  Not sure
how big it was compared to AO 51.

The other factor here might be the sun--glinting in the sun, wouldn't AO 51
be far more visable ?

--STeve Andre'
wb8wsf  en82
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