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DazC

Can we see Hubble?

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I was just wondering, is it possible to see the Hubble space telescope from the ground?

Like when the ISS passes over and the sun is reflected off it. I know it is a lot smaller that the ISS, but just wondered if it is possible.

D.C

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www.heavens-above.com give the location of it and the magnitude, varies from about 4.0 to 1.0 so should be easy enough.

Looking at what HA gives I guess it is stationary over the US, no sighting of it from the UK from now until mid-May so I assume not visible from the UK owing to location.

Means the answer is Yes and No.

Yes you can if in the right location, if you are in the UK then No as the UK is the wrong location.

OK garbage, not stationary just it remains around the equator.

http://www.heavens-above.com/orbit.aspx?satid=20580&lat=52&lng=-0.2&loc=Unspecified&alt=0&tz=GMT

From the path I would have guessed we could see it however?

Goes right over Perth and Alice Springs in Aus, just in case you want an excuse for a trip.

Edited by ronin
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I like this question D.C

Its 570KM away, and 3.86 metres long (assuming a side on view !).  

I found this angular size calculator:  http://www.1728.org/angsize.htm

I placed the data into the calculator as centimetres,

So: Hubble is 1386 cm long and 57,000,000 cm distant. 

It came back as 5.0155 Seconds or arc.  

A 10 inch scope at very best can resolve 0.5 seconds of arc so in theory yes it could be seen. 

I am pretty sure members on this forum may completely trample my maths and  angular resolving assumptions so lets see what others say about this question and draw more conclusions later :) 

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It flies nearly overhead here, a bit into the southern skies.  Perfect target for my location!  I'm glad you brought it up...  

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I like this question D.C

Its 570KM away, and 3.86 metres long (assuming a side on view !).  

I found this angular size calculator:  http://www.1728.org/angsize.htm

I placed the data into the calculator as centimetres,

So: Hubble is 1386 cm long and 57,000,000 cm distant. 

It came back as 5.0155 Seconds or arc.  

A 10 inch scope at very best can resolve 0.5 seconds of arc so in theory yes it could be seen. 

I am pretty sure members on this forum may completely trample my maths and  angular resolving assumptions so lets see what others say about this question and draw more conclusions later :)

Hmm.  So it won't be a terribly compelling or easy to identify target.

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I like this question D.C

Its 570KM away, and 3.86 metres long (assuming a side on view !).  

I found this angular size calculator:  http://www.1728.org/angsize.htm

I placed the data into the calculator as centimetres,

So: Hubble is 1386 cm long and 57,000,000 cm distant. 

It came back as 5.0155 Seconds or arc.  

A 10 inch scope at very best can resolve 0.5 seconds of arc so in theory yes it could be seen. 

I am pretty sure members on this forum may completely trample my maths and  angular resolving assumptions so lets see what others say about this question and draw more concl

It is actually 13.2 metres long making it more visible 

Edited by vlebo

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Resolution is about being able to see detail not if you will see it at all.  If it is bright enough you will be able to see it.  The brightness depends on how much sunlight it reflects.  Someone earlier said mag 1 to 4 so that suggests it would be naked eye visible.

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Hubble's orbital inclination is only some 28 deg as compared with over 50deg for ISS.

Given its altitude I assume it never gets above the horizon for UK observers.

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It is actually 13.2 metres long making it more visible 

Yeah your right !   So it is 'easier' with that in mind.

Cheers for the correction viebo. 

James 

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Probably only  "visible" as a bright point, bit like a satellite or a star :grin: :grin: :grin: .


Hubble's orbital inclination is only some 28 deg as compared with over 50deg for ISS.

Given its altitude I assume it never gets above the horizon for UK observers.

That is all I can think of for not having a visible pass from the UK.

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Hmm.  So it won't be a terribly compelling or easy to identify target.

For me just the fact that I could see Hubble with my own eyes would make it compelling enough. Sure it would be great to see the shape out it or some kind of feature, but just knowing that 'that' pinpoint of light is one of mans best inventions (to date) would make it worth tracking down :) Much in the same way that most of the time when you view the ISS is can be extremely hard to resolve any features on it, but just knowing thats it is enough for me.

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For me just the fact that I could see Hubble with my own eyes would make it compelling enough. Sure it would be great to see the shape out it or some kind of feature, but just knowing that 'that' pinpoint of light is one of mans best inventions (to date) would make it worth tracking down :) Much in the same way that most of the time when you view the ISS is can be extremely hard to resolve any features on it, but just knowing thats it is enough for me.

Hubble has probably done more for astronomy at all levels then anything else, and for all they may put up better I doubt that any will do more for the average person. Just a shame that one day it will come hurtling down to what I suspect will be a watery end.

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I couldn't agree more. Its a great shame that the actual Hubble will more than likely be destroyed as its probably really quite difficult to bring it back for a museum. It has certainly been one of my main inspirations and several of its pictures are up on my wall. Heres hoping the James Webb Telescope that goes up next will continue Hubbles great legacy.

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I thought it was on a geostationary orbit, so would never be visible from here.

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I thought it was on a geostationary orbit, so would never be visible from here.

No it's in a Low Earth Orbit. A bit higher than ISS and less inclined. It just never get up to our latitudes.

To be geostationary it would have to be over 22,000 miles away ("height" doesn't seem the right word!) and in a zero inclination orbit.

The geostationary "belt" can be seen from our latitudes and some spotters routinely photograph them. Which is good or else no one would receive much on their TV's from the Astra constellation of satellites.

As stars trail in long exposure photography the geostationary satellites remain as points. Due to tiny orbital anomalies they do drift about their nominal "station" by a small amount on a diurnal cycle.

Very faint objects.

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Hubble has probably done more for astronomy at all levels then anything else, and for all they may put up better I doubt that any will do more for the average person. Just a shame that one day it will come hurtling down to what I suspect will be a watery end.

Well said, if someone would develop some sort of space shuttle we could recover it...

Matt.

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Well said, if someone would develop some sort of space shuttle we could recover it...

Matt.

Shotgun.

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If it were visible at our latitude it should be possible to see it. I managed to see a tool bag dropped by an astronaut spacewalking near the ISS in 2008 and that was only the size of a briefcase !

It was visible as a faint speck of light following the ISS for a while before it burned up in the atmosphere.

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Well said, if someone would develop some sort of space shuttle we could recover it...

Matt.

This definitely needs to be done. Hubble deserves to retire in a museum.

Thank you all for your replies, I was only expecting a yes or no answer!

I guess this means I've now got an excuse for a holiday in the southern hemisphere at some point!

D.C

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This definitely needs to be done. Hubble deserves to retire in a museum.

Thank you all for your replies, I was only expecting a yes or no answer!

I guess this means I've now got an excuse for a holiday in the southern hemisphere at some point!

D.C

Yes or no? You're new to the internet then? :D

You can see HST overhead from the Canaries. I'm off to Tenerife in two weeks, I'll keep an eye out!

Looks like it will be at the peak of a series of morning passes. I don't often see dawn on holiday. Unless that's the barmaids name :D

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I was just wondering, is it possible to see the Hubble space telescope from the ground?

Like when the ISS passes over and the sun is reflected off it. I know it is a lot smaller that the ISS, but just wondered if it is possible.

D.C

Yes, of course......haven't you visited FLO's clearance section :grin:

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