5:52am Saturday: Shuttle reentry (may be) viewable from northern California (was Re: defend cities game over insert coin

Gordon Mohr gojomo@usa.net
Fri, 31 Jan 2003 13:02:54 -0800


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/01/31/MN90087.DTL

# Although the forecast isn't great, a break in the clouds 
# should reveal the shuttle's blazing re-entry into the earth's 
# atmosphere more than 40 miles high and speeding at 15,500 mph. 
# 
# According to the latest NASA calculations, the shuttle should 
# first appear like a bright meteor at 5:52 a.m., visible almost 
# due north to observers from Clearlake to San Jose. In less than 
# a minute, as it flies toward the northeast, it will vanish, and 
# 23 minutes later it will land at Cape Canaveral, 2,500 miles away. 
# 
# Three to five minutes after the shuttle passes, observers on the 
# ground may hear or even feel a faint sonic boom as it flies 
# faster than the speed of sound.

As noted in my prior FoRK message (included below), this is a 
really unique sight -- the photos on the website referenced below
don't do it justice.

- Gordon


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gordon Mohr" <gojomo@usa.net>
To: <fork@xent.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 2:33 PM
Subject: Re: defend cities game over insert coin


> This sounds like the same sort of trail that can be seen in some locales
> during Space Shuttle night-time reentries.
> 
> Those shuttle trails have been quite spectacular, when I was lucky
> enough to see them from Texas in the predawn hours before a couple of
> Florida shuttle landings. 
> 
> A vaguely orange glowing trail reaches from horizon to horizon, like a 
> jet vapor trail but thicker, brighter, faster-progressing, and more 
> persistent. 
> 
> Some photos of these trails over Houston are about halfway down the
> page at:
> 
>     http://www.eclipsetours.com/sat/shuttle.html
> 
> - Gordon
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "James Rogers" <jamesr@best.com>
> To: <fork@xent.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 3:29 PM
> Subject: Re: defend cities game over insert coin
> 
> 
> > On Tue, 2002-10-15 at 10:48, Dave Long wrote:
> > > 
> > > Still, it was a relief to see only the
> > > one plume, although I don't suppose an
> > > incoming object would have much of a
> > > reentry plume, would it?
> > 
> > 
> > Actually yes it does, though not exactly a "plume" per se.  When an ICBM
> > warhead re-enters the atmosphere it is moving extremely fast and leaves
> > a brightly glowing trail of ionized gas.  In other words, you would see
> > something not dissimilar to the "Missile Command" trail effect.  I've
> > seen high-quality footage and photographs of multiple warhead reentry
> > during MIRV tests.  It is a pretty stunning visual effect to see these
> > glowing tendrils dropping out of space.
> > 
> > Of course, from the time the trail appears in the sky until the warhead
> > impacts is about 30 seconds, so you may miss it when it happens.
> > 
> > 
> > -James Rogers
> >  jamesr@best.com
> > 
> > 
> > 
>