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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 13:42:46 EST
Subject: Sci-Art, Sputnik 1, 500 Flares, Moon & Mars

Hi all,
 
1.  I've just found out about a science/art symposium at Ards Art  Centre and 
WWT (Castle Espie) this W/E. Jointly sponsored by Armagh Planetarium,  it 
looks at the creative connections between science and art. Among those  featured 
are renowned physiscist F. David Peat, and graphic novellist John  Ostrander, 
together with John Fox and Anne Lackie. Details from Robert Peters,  tel 028 
9181 0803. E: robert.petersards-council.gov.uk 

2. SPUTNIK VISIBILITY: A colleague, whose opinion I respect, has queried  
whether I could have seen Sputnik 1 with the unaided eye (see my last E/M): he  
reckons it would have been too faint. 
    As I recall, there was an announcement on the radio  that it would be 
passing over N.I. at a certain time an evening or two  after it was launched. I 
went out into our back garden with my Mum & a few  neighbours, and we saw it 
passing over, high up, at the  predicted time and direction! If it had been the 
final rocket stage, it  would probably have been tumbling, and so flashing or 
at least varying in  brightness, but my recollection is that it was fairly 
constant in brightness.  With the benefit of hindsight, it was about magnitude 
5.5,  i.e. about  1 mag above the NE limit at that time. Obviously I knew 
nothing about satellite  observing at that time, but as I recall the sighting (and 
it was obviously a  very memorable event!), it was just like any other faint 
low-orbit satellite  that I might see now. 
   Does anyone else remember seeing it? Or am I thinking of  Sputnik 2 which 
was a bit bigger (with Laika the dog on board)? I'm 100%  sure that we did see 
one of the very first satellites, on the strength of a  prediction given on 
the radio! I could go back to the same spot in the garden,  and point out the 
direction it went! And it was a Russian one, as the US ones  had a much lower 
orbital inclination, and didn't pass over N.I.
   It's hard to believe that next year will see the 50th  anniversary!
 
3.  I've now logged my 500th Iridium Flare! I've seen more than that,  but 
only started observing them properly a few years ago. Some time I'll do a  
proper analysis of the observations.....
 
4. The Moon will pass just 1 degree 40 minutes N of Mars on the evening of  5 
February.
 
Clear skies,
 
Terry Moseley

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