Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Some RASC members asked about the International Space Station and Space Shuttle.

Sharmin asked me why were they still so close to each other? And could the ISS be seen in daylight?
  • I explained that they weren't close, in terms of physical distance. Probably 5 or 10 km apart. They were about 5 degrees apart when overhead. And that I'd have to do some trigonometry to get the real distance. Ew!
  • I also explained that departing spacecraft cannot "power away" from the station because the jets and exhaust would damage the station. They must inch away slowly and with minimal plume.
  • I surmised that ISS could be spotted in daylight, especially if it went to magnitude -4. But it would be challenging.
Kiron posted on the Yahoo!Group that he thought the fainter point sped up and pulled away from the second.
  • I said it wasn't pulling away; it was getting closer. When we spotted the ISS and space shuttle near the horizon, they were approximately 2000 km away. When they went overhead, they were about 300 km away. So the angular separation increased due to proximity...

No comments: