Shuttle and ET

From: Leo Barhorst (
Date: Wed Jun 05 2002 - 18:03:36 EDT

Just saw the launch of Endeavour on NASA-TV via Internet.
At about 18 minutes after launch I got outside and was lucky that
the sky had broken a bit. few stars could be seen.
At 21:44 UT I saw low on the western horizon a brillant light in 
between some clouds.
After emerging from this cloud I saw the shuttle and about half a 
degree lower the External Tank.
STS-111 was about mag -4, as bright as Venus. The ET was
dark orange and about mag 2. After about 30 sec the ET became
brighter and got to mag -1. The both of them passed just under
Spica (Alpha Virgo).
A beautifull sight the very bright white dot of Endeavour and the 
somewhat dimmer bright orange dot of the ET moving close
The ET stayed several seconds that bright, dimmed to about mag 4
again and got again brighter to about mag 1 and then dimmed  
gradually until disappearing in the earth's shadow. Estimated period 
about 10 seconds. Haven't seen these brightness variations with ET's.
Was is slowly tumbling?
Several seconds later the shuttle also faded away.

It was worth it staying up late to see the launch and the nice pass of the
two sats. Had they launched on time several days ago they would have
been in shadow while passing over here.

Greetings and clear, dark skies
Leo Barhorst Medemblik
52.76350 N  5.09114 E  2 m ASL

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