Observed Passes of Satellites, Rocket Bodies (etc.) in 2017

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Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Observed Passes of Satellites, Rocket Bodies (etc.) in 2017

Post by Christopher K. » November 29th, 2016, 2:55 pm

HRPO's twentieth anniversary is soon upon us, and the three partners in the venture (BREC, LSU, BRAS) are working to make this the best calendar year of public offerings in the facility's history!

There's really nothing comparable to catching a "visible pass" on your own, before anyone shows you where the object is in the sky. It could be a legend-in-its-own-time (like the staffed International Space Station or the Hubble Space Telescope), any of China's past or present space stations, a rocket body, a military satellite, a weather satellite, a relatively new piece of machinery or a decades-old and now-defunct corpse. Of course, we can't forget the incredible "flares" caused by the Iridium communications satellites!

On two Fridays in 2017 (the Friday before Daylight Time starts, and the one after CDT finishes) HRPO will host a special twilight viewing session called The Edge of Night. Among other things, patrons will learn to generate a list of visible passes for any specific locations, and how to actually spot the craft and rocket parts passing overhead. The 2017 dates will be 10 March and 10 November; exact times will be announced later. The sessions have no admission fee and are for all ages; we encourage patrons to bring binoculars.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Observed Passes of Satellites, Rocket Bodies (etc.) in 2

Post by Christopher K. » March 10th, 2017, 3:43 pm

Below is the NOAA forecast for HRPO's viewing time of 5:30pm to 7:30pm tonight...
precipitation potential, 14%
sky cover, 88%
relative humidity, 73%
temperature, 22˚C
surface wind, NE 6 km/h


The Edge of Night event will still take place, but many planned views of objects and events in the sky will be exceedingly difficult if NOAA's sky cover prediction is accurate.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Observed Passes of Satellites, Rocket Bodies (etc.) in 2

Post by Christopher K. » June 6th, 2017, 7:47 pm

The second Edge of Night of the year will take place this Friday from 7:45pm to 9:45pm. Here are some of the high points of the evening…
8:02pm = "civil twilight" begins
8:34pm = "civil twilight" ends; "nautical twilight" begins
8:52pm = Full Moon and Saturn in tight conjunction at 6˚ altitude
8:56pm to 9:04pm = magnitude 1.8 pass of Lacrosse 5 rocket
9:04pm = magnitude -2 flare of Iridium #98
9:08pm = "nautical twilight" ends; "astronomical twilight" begins
9:39pm to 9:43pm = magnitude 2.1 pass of GPS 2-04 rocket 1
9:41pm to 9:44pm = magnitude -1.5 pass of International Space Station
9:43pm = "astronomical twilight" ends
The various twilights will be explained.

Patrons are encouraged to bring binoculars. With them they can see the Galilean moons; the oblong shape of Saturn; the separation of Mizar and Alcor; Coma Berenices; and the "head" of Draco. Unaided exercises will include introducing the Sickle of Leo and Corvus the Crow. The magnitude scale will also be illustrated with stars of magnitude zero (Vega), one (Antares) and two (Polaris).

Below is the current NOAA forecast for this viewing time...
precipitation potential, 3%
sky cover, 18%
relative humidity, 59%
temperature, 27˚C
surface wind, SE 3 km/h

Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Observed Passes of Satellites, Rocket Bodies (etc.) in 2

Post by Christopher K. » September 9th, 2017, 12:59 pm

Predicted -6.9 Flare (Iridium 7): 9 Sep 17, 8:50pm as seen from HRPO
Predicted -6.8 Flare (Iridium 51): 9 Sep 17, 8:50pm as seen from HRPO
Predicted -6.9 Flare (Iridium 34): 11 Sep 17, 8:38pm as seen from HRPO


An astonishing number of bright Iridium flares can be seen tonight (during Evening Sky Viewing Plus) and Monday night (during the next public BRAS meeting) from the grounds of the Highland Road Park Observatory. Iridium flares of magnitude -6 and brighter are quite intense, and not all that common. To place this in some perspective, magnitude -6 is the brightness of the crescent Moon...
http://www.icq.eps.harvard.edu/MagScale.html

The center lines of all three predictions run from Homochitto National Forest to the Gulf Coast south of Morgan City.

Please remember, the farther you will be away from HRPO grounds, the dimmer the flares will be--unless you are on the line along the Earth from which the brightest reflections can be seen.

These predictions come from the wonderful Heavens Above website...
http://www.heavens-above.com/

Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Observed Passes of Satellites, Rocket Bodies (etc.) in 2

Post by Christopher K. » October 25th, 2017, 12:29 pm

HRPO's last Edge of Night session for 2017 will be Friday 10 November from 4:45pm to 6:45pm. Predicted highlights include...
4:45pm to 5:15pm = Mercury
5:10pm = sunset
5:36pm = end of civil twilight
5:45pm to 6:45pm = Saturn
5:58pm to 6:01pm = BREEZE-M Debris Visible Pass
6:05pm = end of nautical twilight
6:08pm to 6:17pm = Lacrosse 5 Visible Pass
6:23pm to 6:26pm = Lacrosse 4 Rocket Visible Pass
after 6:30pm = Albireo
6:33pm = end of astronomical twilight

All visible passes listed are predicted to be magnitude 2.0. The session is for all ages and has no admission fee. Binoculars are strongly recommended.

More information:
http://hrpo.lsu.edu/programs/edge.html

The Various Twilights:
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/RST_defs.php

Christopher K.
Posts: 4397
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Observed Passes of Satellites, Rocket Bodies (etc.) in 2

Post by Christopher K. » November 7th, 2017, 4:57 pm

HRPO's last Edge of Night session has a revised schedule, thanks to revised predictions! Predicted highlights include...
4:45pm to 5:15pm = Mercury
5:10pm = sunset
5:36pm = end of civil twilight
5:45pm to 6:45pm = Saturn
5:52pm to 6:00pm = Cosmos 1825 Visible Pass [magnitude 2.1]
5:59pm to 6:02pm = BREEZE-M Debris Visible Pass [magnitude 1.9]
6:05pm = end of nautical twilight
6:08pm to 6:17pm = Lacrosse 5 Visible Pass [magnitude 2.0]
6:23pm to 6:27pm = Lacrosse 4 Rocket Visible Pass [magnitude 2.0]
6:29pm to 6:34pm = GPS 2-01 Rocket1 Visible Pass [magnitude 2.5]
after 6:30pm = Albireo
6:32pm to 6:33pm = IUS-13 SRM-1 Visible Pass [magnitude 2.3]
6:33pm = end of astronomical twilight

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