Sunday 24 December 2006

Lacrosse 3 & Lacrosse 5 Rk in hazy skies

A late report on observations from December 18. The grant committee hearing last Thursday took too much of my time and energy to report earlier to this log.

This were the first observations being back on-line and tracking with a new laptop ("Elvis") after a fatal crash of my old laptop ("HAL") the 12th. Conditions were poor: hazy. No pretty pictures this time...

I observed Lacrosse 3 and the Lacrosse 5 Rocket (05-016B). The Lacrosse 3 (97-064A) was trail very marginal on the image. I dropped a second trail image on 97-064A obtained during its next pass as it was even more marginal. My two points on the first trail come out a few tenths of seconds different from those of other observations around this time.

By contrast, the Lacrosse 5 Rocket (05-016B) trail was of good quality and agreed well with other observations obtained around that time. 05-016B was 4.6s early and 0.11 degrees off-track with regard to an 8 day old elset; 97-064A some 0.9s early and on-track with regard to similar aged elset.

A female neighbour came by for a chat when seeing me photograph and watched 05-016B passing over Polaris with me.

Friday 15 December 2006

SatTrackCam temporarily down

SatTrackCam has been temporarily down the past week and will be for a few more days. The reason is that my old faithful lap-top HAL died last Tuesday.

I have a new lap-top since late this afternoon. I need a few more days however to configure it, re-install software etcetera. Moreover, I have to be at a committee hearing of our National Science Foundation coming Friday in connection to my Post-Doc proposal and have to prepare for that. So I think it will not be before Christmas before I am fully up and running again.

Sunday 10 December 2006

Lacrosse 2 & Lacrosse 5 Rocket in hazy skies

Unlike the clear skies of this morning (see previous post), it was quite hazy this evening. Images were considerably fogged as a result - no pretty pictures.

Targets were Lacrosse 2 (91-017A, #211147) and the Lacrosse 5 Rocket stage (05-016b, #28647). Got two images on each object. The trail of 91-017A on the first image was very marginal. 05-016B was nice and bright, I saw it go into eclips near the end of the last exposure. Both objects crossed Pegasus and then Andromeda/Aries, 20 minutes apart in time.

05-016B was some 6.4 to 6.5s early and some 0.15 degree off-track relative to 6 day old elset 06339.03434948. 91-017A was nicely on-time and on-track.

Lacrosse 5 & its "disappearance trick" again

I observed Lacrosse 5 (05-016A, 28646) this morning, and timed it's "disappearing trick" again.

I saw it emerge out of earth shadow above alpha Auriga at a bright mag. +1 at about 5:19:00 UTC. It then crossed towards Umi, over Polaris, bright and steady. At 5:21:24 ± 1s UTC at 45 deg altitude in the N-NE it did its trick again, fading from mag. +1.5 to naked eye invisibility in just a few seconds.

05-016A was nicely on-time and on-track. I obtained 3 images, hence 6 positions.

I was up in the middle of the night too, to watch the Shuttle launch on NASA-TV at 2:47 am local time.

(click image to enlarge)

Thursday 7 December 2006

Shuttle STS-116

Pre-flight orbital elements for the upcoming Space Shuttle Discovery STS-116 flight came available on the NASA Spaceflight website yesterday.

A quick check yesterday evening revealed to me that, alas, the flight will not be visible for me: all night-time passes (before docking and after undocking) will take place while the Shuttle is in eclipse. So, 'll have to be content with just watching the launch on NASA-TV.