[AZ-Observing] ISS/STS-121 pass over Phoenix tonight just before 9pm (Observational results)

  • From: "Jimmy Ray" <jimmy_ray@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 09:40:59 -0700

Well that was a fun adventure! As Neville pointed out, this pass was only 20
minutes into twilight so getting setup and aligned before the pass was going
to be interesting. Normally I track a couple of passes before hand. In this
case it was 5 minutes until the pass and I didn't even have alignment stars
yet! (sound like a good excuse for getting that 10" star hopping Dob I've
been wanting). Running out of time, I dropped back, kicked the scope into
"Sky Align" mode  and picked the only three objects I had available,
Arcturus, Jupiter and that tiny alignment speck in the sky the Moon. Trying
to think of a crater in the middle of the moon, then finding it in your 9MM
crosshair reticle while the ISS is rising behind you don't make for any kind
of usable alignment. As it was the PC to Scope interface failed anyway so I
tried to "free fly" with the scope control pad. First let me say as for the
ISS, THAT BABY MOVES!! Without the computer to control it, the best I could
hope to do is throw in a 40MM eyepiece, zip out ahead of it and get about a
1/2 second view as it streaked through the FOV (boy do I need that 10" Dob).
My first observation was that of a very large airy disk with a dark spot
right in the dead center. Wow, my scope is perfectly collimated! Racing
ahead I spun the focus knob, wrong way! Ahead again and spinning the focus
the other way, hey I see a slight elongation to the object, I think. Further
away things slow way down and focusing on a small dot in the sky was easy.
Oh well....

Not all was lost on the evening. I did get a chance to test out my new
Lumicon O-III filter. I could actually make out the Swan Nebula even though
a near full moon was sitting near by. Great filter! *

(* As with any filter / eye combination, your results may vary :-)

Jimmy Ray

-----Original Message-----
From: az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Rick Tejera
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2006 9:34 PM
To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [AZ-Observing] Re: ISS/STS-121 pass over Phoenix tonight just
before 9pm


You can get the most current orbital elements from Heavens-Above. They
update every three hours, I believe. Click on the link to the pass and from
the visibility details page, click the "orbit' Link near the top right. This
will display a plot of the orbit and will have the two line keplarian
elements below the maps. Also has the elements in a tabular for as well. You
should be able to copy & paste the TLE into whatever software you're using.
Do it around 1900 tomorrow and you'll have the most accurate elements.

I look forward to seeing your results

Rick Tejera
Editor SACnews
Saguaro Astronomy Club
Phoenix, Arizona


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