18

tl;dr: at an apparent magnitude of about +18.5 you need a several meter telescope and a dark sky. Hubble can do it too. So by reflected sunlight, definitely not by eye. The exhaust from a Methalox (CH4 + LOX) engine barely makes any light in the visible, so no help there. Starting with the math from this answer: I'm going to characterize the 55 x 9 meter ...


15

If you want an easy way to think about it, imagine how bright it might be in low Earth orbit, 240 miles up (which is just a bit lower than the International Space Station). However bright that is, it will be only a millionth as bright when it’s near the Moon, 240,000 miles away (and so a thousand times the distance). Is it likely that it will be bright ...


13

Yes, the Starlink satellites were visible from earth with your naked eye and have been seen and recorded by several people. See also https://vimeo.com/338361997 and read about it here. Gizmodo: Breathtaking View of SpaceX Starlink Satellite ‘Train’ Triggers Wave of UFO Sightings


11

In general satellites are not "painted". They are covered in a variety of Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) blankets with varying optical qualities. I have seen MLI in silver, black, and gold - sometimes on the same spacecraft. In addition, spacecraft often have radiators (most usually silver) and sometimes even louvers that cover radiators. A spacecraft is ...


8

No, the reflector hasn't been deployed. Project head, Alexander Shayenko reported about it (RUS) (ENG) today. Early report information On July 17th the team reported about possible success (RUS) (ENG). They analyzed the TLE of orbits of 73 satellites in cluster. Based on braking factor(#9 element) and ballistic ratio(#11 element) they found 2017-042F, ...


6

Per the official NASA history of Vanguard it was for visibility and thermal control. (Bolding mine) Tousey had made some of the first calculations in the fall of 1955, contributing his knowledge of optics to ensure that protective coatings on the exterior of the booster and on the satellite shell would have ...


6

As an answer to the question in your title, NASA photographer Joel Kowsky captured this stunning composite earlier today in Banner, Wyoming. The positioning required to perfectly frame Station during this solar transit took months of planning, and the window of opportunity was brief enough that it was shot at 1,500 frames per second with a high-speed camera. ...


6

Here's a map that shows the general visibility for Antares launches (that was the rocket the weatherman was talking about, although it won't be flying again until 2016): I once watched a Minotaur V launch from Wallops down on Brighton Beach in New York. It was clearly visible. It was also a night launch, it probably wouldn't have been visible during daytime....


5

Yes, Humanity Star was spotted at "0106 on [January] the 27th New Zealand time (1206 on the 26th UTC.)" The sighting was made from Pukehina, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. It was observed again on February 25th at 9:29 NZT, and it definitely looks very "disco-flashy" on the video, in my opinion.


4

Rocket engines burning in vacuum produce large exhaust plumes that rapidly spread outward to 'fill' the vacuum. This means that for a distance of many dozens of meters - or more - they produce a visible cloud of gas that can catch sunlight and produce very large, visible artifacts in a clear night sky. So - engine burns near Earth (departure, or arrivals ...


4

Some breaking news on this, according to this source (not the most reputable, to be sure) the reflectors have failed to deploy. They link to this source which appears to be from the creators of Mayak, saying that technical failures have occurred and they are still trying to diagnose them. I don't speak Russian and Google Translate only makes it partially ...


3

Yes, if you have a telescope or really good set of binoculars. The article you linked even states this: “It’s not going to be visible to the naked eye, but really any amateur astronomer with a half decent telescope should be able to do it,” the professor said. “Or a big lens on a regular camera like a telephonic lens, they should be able to pick it up and ...


2

If the ISS was overhead during the Total Solar Eclipse, you could have seen it. During Totality, it isn't nearly as dark as during actual night, only a few bright planets were visible. But the ISS is bright enough that it could be seen, if it happened to be overhead at the right time. You might be able to see a few other really bright satellites as well, but ...


2

The different brightness is caused by the fuel. The liquid fuel rockets burn hydrogen with oxygen, both are gases and the reaction product is hot water vapour, also a gas. But pure gas flames emit very little light, that is why gas mantles are used for camping gas lanterns. The hot solid mesh emits far more light than the hot gas heating the mesh. The ...


2

Based on radio-luminescent measurements done over the years (ex- stealth weapons programs), comparatively large reflections from radio-illuminated objects have been attributed from relatively small portions of the objects surfaces. The same could be expected in visible light reflections if a certain geometry of a reflective surface concentrates rays toward ...


2

As seen in the photos below from https://terra.nasa.gov/about Terra is reddish, so the answer to Why is Terra reddish? is exactly what you have suspected; because it is wrapped in a thermal protection film that is reddish in color. However, the answer to a more interesting question: Why am I surprised that Terra appears reddish? would have several ...


2

The notable amateur astronomer, award winning IOTA member and expert asteroid occultation timing-ist Derek C. Breit wrote on the Seesat-l (visual satellite observing) mail list that his video shows the second stage/Roadster before the start of the escape burn. See his post here. Source He links there to the video can be found at bottom right in ...


1

Yes, the Catalina Sky Survey did in fact observe Starman: https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/ua-astronomers-track-tesla-roadster-space


1

The chemical energy from burning 1 mole (2 grams) of hydrogen in plentiful oxygen is 242 kJ. Just enough oxygen is half a mole, or 16 grams. The Space Shuttle external tank contained 629,340 kg of liquid oxygen and 106,261 kg of liquid hydrogen. Note that this isn't enough oxygen to burn all the hydrogen, for rocket science reasons, so we'll figure out the ...


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