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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
701 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
271 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
420 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 ...
Ajinkya Naik's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
950 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
53 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 ...
JenkinsEar's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
150 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 ...
Martin Ménard's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
182 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
iAdjunct's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
18k views

From 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. ...
Bruce James's user avatar

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