Seeing the ISS and the Tiangong 1 on Two Consecutive Nights

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Seeing the ISS and the Tiangong 1 on Two Consecutive Nights
Posted by DaveMitsky on Thursday, February 13, 2014 4:01 AM

On Monday and Tuesday evenings, I was able to observe passes of the two orbital space stations, the ISS and the Chinese Tiangong 1.  The passes on each night were quite favorable, although I had to drive about half a mile on Tuesday night to a spot with a better northern view.  (It was especially cold that evening.)  Both objects were brighter and climbed higher into the sky on Monday.   

Despite moonlight and light pollution, both were visible to the naked-eye (the ISS easily so), although I also viewed them using Celestron Ultima 10x50s.  The Tiangong 1 passed close to Algol and Capella on Monday and went through Cassiopeia on Tuesday.

On 2/10/14, the ISS attained a magnitude of -2.8, rose in the WSW, peaked at an altitude of 58° in the NW at 18:12:19 p.m. EST, and disappeared into the Earth's shadow in the NE.  The Tiangong 1 attained a magnitude of 0.8, rose in the WSW, peaked at an altitude of 87° in the NNW at 18:41:40 p.m. EST, and disappeared into the Earth's shadow in the ENE.

On 2/11/14, the ISS attained a magnitude of -1.1, rose in the WNW, peaked at an altitude of 19° in the NNW at 19:00:57 p.m. EST, and disappeared into the Earth's shadow in the NNE.  The Tiangong 1 attained a magnitude of 1.2, rose in the W, peaked at an altitude of 54° in the N at 19:04:07 p.m. EST, and disappeared into the Earth's shadow in the NNE.

This was the first time that I witnessed passes of the two space stations on consecutive nights.  

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

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