Friday, 24 November 2006

A Lacrosse, a Lacrosse rocket and the ISS (updated)

(Click images to enlarge)

I was up early this morning. The sky had cleared, although streaks of fast-moving clouds still wandered across the sky.

First target was Lacrosse 3 (97-064A,# 25017) around 5:17 local time (4:17 UTC). It was faint, the trail on the photograph was rather marginal. My results suggest it was 0.15 seconds late and 0.1 degree off-track relative to a 5-day old elset, but as the trail was very marginal, don't pin me down on it.

Next target was the Lacrosse 5 Rk rocket stage (05-016B, #28647). While traversing from Auriga into Gemini around 5:57 local time it was quite bright, magnitude +1. Once in Leo at 5:58 local time, it had faded to mag +3.5. Got 2 photographs and hence 4 positions, but the last one dropped because it came out clearly erratic. The other three points more or less agree, and suggest it was on-time and on-track.

Highlight of the night was a fine pass of the International Space Station at 6:37 local time (5:37 UTC), see the two pictures above. When it came into view at about 35 degrees altitude, close to Procyon, it already was well into the negative magnitudes, about magnitude -3 I estimate. It stayed that bright while crossing the body of Leo and passing close to Saturn at about 55 degrees altitude: it dimmed when going towards the eastern horizon. It had a somewhat orange colour again.

I have seen ISS this bright before, but that was during zenith passes. I wonder what brightness it currently could attain in the zenith. Hope to be able to check that out soon, as ISS starts to make more favourable morning passes.

UPDATE: I've combined the two ISS pass photographs into one composite image
(click image to enlarge)


Stationery Traffic said...

Nice work Marco. I observed 05-016B the previous morning - it is a lovely object.

Clouded out here in England though :-(

SatTrackCam Leiden said...

Clouds again here too. Only he morning was clear. Glad I took advantage of it.