Questions tagged [visibility-of-spacecraft]

questions about how visible spacecraft are, as seen from Earth or anywhere else, as seen by eye or by imaging systems.

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1k views

Is the Starlink array really visible from Earth?

I was browsing YouTube when I came across this video, recorded from a sky gazer who apparently spotted the Starlink satellites. In my lifetime, I haven't seen many satellites in the night skies (maybe ...
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3answers
2k views

Will it be possible to see BFR approaching the moon from earth, with naked eye?

The title pretty much sums it up. I'm not old enough to have experienced any of the previous manned moon landings. Given that Big Falcon Rocket will go around the moon in 2023, I'm wondering if one ...
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3answers
204 views

Was Roadster (Starman) seen in Earth orbit, before the long burn to deep space?

Discussion in comments below this answer tend to conclude that 1st stages come back to Earth and so (essentially) all those tumbling rocket body objects in Heavens Above are 2nd stages, though I ...
5
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1answer
349 views

Has the Humanity Star been spotted yet?

With all the hullabaloo that the Roadster/Spaceman duo has been getting, is there any indication that the Humanity Star has been seen visually yet? Any reports of it's sparkly mirrorball-like ...
2
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1answer
294 views

Why were early satellites produced with polished “mirror-like” surfaces?

Many/most early artificial satellites were spheres with mirror-like polished outer surfaces. I am guessing that for lower orbits the spherical shape minimized drag as well as simplified the analysis ...
3
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1answer
159 views

Will they really be able to “see” OSIRIS-REx from Australia? With meteor cameras?

Thw news.com.au article NASA spacecraft to fly over Australia during Earth Gravity Assist manoeuvre has some interesting graphics (shown below). In the article is discussion of meteor cameras, and ...
6
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2answers
269 views

Can satellites or the ISS be seen from Earth during a Total Solar Eclipse?

If there is a satellite or the ISS passing by over a point during a total solar eclipse in the darkest region, will the satellite be visible by naked eye or a pair of binoculars, since it will be dark ...
14
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2answers
767 views

Two week mark; has Mayak (Маяк) been spotted yet? Reflector deployed? Astronomy “ruined”?

Deborah Byrd's article Have you seen the Mayak satellite? explains Mayak with a bit of humor: A team of young Russians – led by Moscow State Mechanical Engineering University (MAMI) – managed to ...
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0answers
37 views

Is it possible to see ISS solar arrays with naked eye, from earth? [duplicate]

I have a friend who swears that he saw the ISS and the arrays sticking out the sides of the bright light. I'm thinking he has cataracts. (We're both of that age.) Is it possible he really did see ...
7
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1answer
487 views

How do rocket propellant combinations rank in terms of “brightness”?

While a booster on the shuttle had a bit more than twice the thrust of the shuttles engines at take-off, I'd venture a guess that it produced on the order of a thousand time more visible light. In ...
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0answers
109 views

What is the maximal distance to see a rocket's flare in the sky? [duplicate]

We get onboard a cruise ship 5 to 6 hours prior to the launch, in direction of Nassau, Bahamas. Cruising at about 25 km/hr, we should be about 150 km away from the pad.Do you think that we still have ...
2
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1answer
147 views

How much brighter-than-expected could a spent rocket body become?

In a comment below an answer to the question What could have made a satellite appear to move side to side while near the horizon? I've said: Actually a satellite with flat surfaces - especially ...
13
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2answers
503 views

How bright is a rocket launch?

How bright (in Watts, preferably, or lumens) is the plume from a rocket launch (e.g. a SpaceX launch)? Obviously in its direction of travel it isn't particularly bright, but what is its effective ...
3
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1answer
12k views

How far away can one see a NASA rocket launch?

I live in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., and the weatherman thought we'd be able to see a rocket launched from Wallops Island (alas, it blew up instead) which by car is 166 miles away. ...