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STS-133 sighting opportunities


george7378
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The Space Shuttle Discovery is going to be perfectly placed for observation from the UK when it launches and approaches the ISS (if it makes the Feb. 24th launch date) because the ISS will be making high, bright evening passes (often two per night) on the 24th Feb, to well into March. This should be a perfect opportunity for us in the UK to see the Shuttle chasing the ISS, maybe for the last time, as you know how bad our weather is. PLEASE pray for clear skies!

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Glad to be of help :)

Michael - That would be a perfect scope for the job. I have tracked the ISS with a 130mm scope, and my new 10", and I have found that it is often best to use lower magnifications. I would recommend in the region of 40 - 90X for observing it - any higher, and it gets too wobbly to see details (unless you are tracking it with a motor). I took a video through my old scope (130mm) here:

YouTube - The ISS through my Sky-Watcher 130 (afocal)

Also, here's a set of frames from the video:

The ISS | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

It actually looks better than that visually, as that video was taken with a compact camera looking down the scope, but you get the idea. I am hoping to watch it at about 48X magnification when it next comes over, and if I feel brave enough, 90X. That said, it will be spectacular with the naked eye too.

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Thanks George.

I will certainly give this a try..weather permiting of course.

Your photo's are great! realy make out the solar panels! Can't watch the video at the moment as I am working on a ship and we have a slow satellite connection. But I will check it out when I get home.

Good luck for when it comes round & clear skies!

Michael

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Best of luck to all of you at the Prime Meridian. We in the Southwestern USA have great weather, but most times the passes are day time.

I'd better dust off the old EQMOD with the Atlas. It never fails to nail the ISS dead center on those rare times we have an evening pass. Not many chances left!

A quick check of the ISS two line element set says over my back yard we will have the typical opportunities. In 10 days, there will be 9 passes; none from 2/26 through 3/3. The highest elevation will be 13 degrees, with the rest between 1 and 6 degrees elevation. If there is a reboost, as often happens due to the rapid decay of the ISS, this usually affects the timing, not the elevation very much. I certainly hope they hit their 10 minute window on 2/24, and give the east of the Atlantic some great opportunities.

I have a new solar system imaging camera due to arrive tomorrow, and I'd love to get a movie to work with.

Edited by Skylook123
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I'd better dust off the old EQMOD with the Atlas. It never fails to nail the ISS dead center on those rare times we have an evening pass. Not many chances left!

I'll just take this opportunity to remind EQMOD that there is a

available on how to go about satellite tracking.

As there's a number of different applications that have to work together to make this happen its a good idea to practice things first on other satellites or at least under simulation.

Chris.

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I've been following STS-133, and if it launches on schedule at 21:50GMT on the 24th, then unfortunately I don't think it's going to be visible from mainland Britain.

The Shuttle will be launched into the orbital plane of the ISS, so I assume that the Shuttle will follow a similar track to the ISS. From previous Shuttle launches, I know the Shuttle is usually visible over Britain around 18.5 minutes after launch, so that would mean STS-133 would pass at around 22:08. If you look at the Heavens Above ISS predictions page, then the last visible ISS pass on the 24th for most of Britain will be at 20:19. There will be another pass at 21:54, but by then the ISS will be eclipsed (in earth's shadow) so won't be visible - actually, it will be visible from Land's end from around 21:53 for 3 seconds; from The Scilly Isles for 10 seconds; and from Dingle on the SW coast of Ireland for aound 47 seconds, but when the Shuttle passes 15 minutes later the sun will be that bit further below the horizon. I'm assuming all this means that us Brits luck-out on this one... though you'll still get an opportunity to spot the Shuttle the day after launch, before it docks with the ISS.

There is a slim chance that the launch could be delayed because yesterday's Ariane launch was a day late, which means that the ATV 2 is due to dock with the ISS just 6 hours before Discovery's launch. NASA will decide whether or not to delay the launch tomorrow. A later launch would give us a better chance to see the Shuttle's ascent from Britain. :glasses1:

PS. As you've probably gathered this is mostly guess-work, and I'd welcome any comments...

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Thanks George.

I will certainly give this a try..weather permiting of course.

Your photo's are great! realy make out the solar panels! Can't watch the video at the moment as I am working on a ship and we have a slow satellite connection. But I will check it out when I get home.

Good luck for when it comes round & clear skies!

Michael

You may have difficulty viewing it from Kirkwall Michael, it just pops up over the horizon for about a minute, I remember that I struggled from Grimbister, could just catch it when looking over Scapa Flow.

Check out www.heavens-above.com for details of visible passes.

Good luck

Edited by Naz
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There is a STS-133 pass at 18:38 on Saturday evening that appears to be pretty high in the sky over the uk (33 degrees). The ISS is also due over at the same time at a similar altitude just in front of the STS-133 as they are due to dock at 19:16.

This is based on calsky and heavens-above info and I think I've read it correctly.

Edited by Photosbykev
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