Hubble Space Telescope Orbit

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Tim Chamberlain
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Hubble Space Telescope Orbit

Post by Tim Chamberlain »

Hello All,

Does anyone know if the HST follows a fixed orbit?

I've just looked it up on both CalSky and Heavens-Above and (from what I can make out) it seems to follow an undulating course around the equator, but I wondered if this orbit ever shifted so that it became visible from the UK?

It seems to be possible to view Hubble from Taiwan, which I'm soon to visit, and so I'm wondering if this might be my best chance to view the HST?

It would be lovely to actually see this true Astronomer's friend before it reaches the end of its amazing life ...

Many thanks,

Tim
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Post by Ender Of Days »

Because of its inclination its never visible from the UK,its too far south
really disapointed me when I found out :cry:

JJ..
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Brian
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Post by Brian »

Hi Tim.

Looking here: http://www.n2yo.com/?s=20580

HST's orbit is equatorial. When on the UK meridian and farthest north, it's actually over north Africa, too far south I think to be seen from here. Good luck seeing it on your trip :)

ATB,
Brian
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Tim Chamberlain
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Post by Tim Chamberlain »

Many thanks JJ and Brian, especially for the link - I didn't know of this website. The real time tracking function on the actual Hubble website doesn't appear to be working at the moment, so this is great.

Shame Hubble never comes as far north as the UK. However, Heavens-Above showed some visible passes during my stay in Taiwan, so looks like this might be my chance - fingers crossed for clear skies at the right times!

Best regards,

Tim
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Post by Mogget »

The "undulations" are due to the fact that the orbit is being displayed on a flat map. In reality, the orbit is a low eccentricity ellipse around an oblate spheroid :wink:
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Post by stella »

For those in the U.K., you can track the keyhole satellites.
At present USA 129 (96-72A) #24680, is visible in the evenings.
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Post by Tim Chamberlain »

:lol: Apologies ... "undulations" = not very scientific, eh! :roll:
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Post by Mogget »

I think I have seen USA 129 in the past, and it was fairly bright as satellites go.
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Post by stella »

The Keyhole satellites are similar to Hubble, but in polar orbits, so they
can be seen from all latitudes.
http://www.universetoday.com/65458/spyi ... ook-alike/
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Post by Tim Chamberlain »

I love the idea of amateur astronomers "spying" on spy satellites :D
Tim Chamberlain
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Post by Tim Chamberlain »

I spent just over three weeks in Taiwan and - can you believe it - cloudy every night!! :cry:

Still, made up for it by going to see a film about the Hubble Telescope at Taipei Astronomical Museum's IMAX theatre; plus, I bought two nice new binoculars ... :D
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Post by David Frydman »

Dear Tim,
Hope you had a nice trip.
What are the two binoculars?
Any trouble bringing them back.
Taiwan seem to make a lot of optical equipment, also machine made Chinese carpets, wjich look something like but are not the same as the hand made Chinese carpets.
At least with the genuine Chinese carpets they make something that lasts two hundred years of heavy use, is beautiful and the exporters are extremely reliable.
Unlike the variability of chinese optics.
Incidently you can tell the Taiwanese so called chinese carpets as they have a cloth backing to hide what they really are.

Regards, David
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Post by Vega »

Tim Chamberlain wrote:I love the idea of amateur astronomers "spying" on spy satellites :D
The irony is contagiously funny :lol:
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Post by Tim Chamberlain »

Hello David,

They are:

8x25 Sun Optical Bak4 Prism (Waterproof)
A nice small size with a wonderfully clear image, and adjustable eye relief.

10x25 Tasco
Very handy pocket sized, good focus - although image feels a tiny bit misty, but this could just be me (?).

I also bought a monocular before I went away:

7-21x25 Helios (4 degrees at 7x; 2.3 degrees at 21x)

No problems getting any of these back. I was very careful and kept them in my hand luggage. I didn't want to put them in my hold luggage in case they were knocked about and damaged.

The reason I bought small, light-weight instruments is twofold; first - portability, I travel a lot; and second - when not travelling I live in a flat (sans balcony, alas!), consequently I do a lot of my observing on the Thames footpath nearby. Smaller binoculars are more discreet and less cumbersome to use in such a public space.

One day I would like to get a decent sized telescope - but until I have more regular access to less light-polluted skies in a more private space small sized optics are a more practical/functional choice for me.

Regards,

Tim
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Post by David Frydman »

Thanks Tim,
I have the same problem with cameras. I use small compact digital cameras for photography from the street as larger cameras attract too much attention.

I also usually carry the Helios pocket spy folding 8x21 monocular which is very small and I think originates from an old Zeiss type.

But you can also get 8x21 straight tube monoculars which maybe easier to find objects, but your zoom monocular is similar if a bit larger.

I often use small binoculars. 8x25 or 10x25. They are very useful.

Regards, David
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