Thursday, March 22, 2001

Want to see end of Mir? Forget it




By Mike Pulfer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Greater Cincinnatians — unless they're vacationing on the water in one of the most remote parts of the world — will not see the Russian space station Mir's final moments.

        “There's pretty much no chance” for the Tristate, said Dean Regas, outreach teacher at the Cincinnati Observatory Center in Mount Lookout.

        The Russian space agency says Mir will be brought down early Friday morning (tonight on this side of the world). The timetable calls for the station to be sent hurtling into the Pacific Ocean somewhere between Australia and Chile, with the first debris hitting the water at about 1 a.m. Friday.

AT CINCINNATI.COM
Complete coverage of Mir's final day
        Even those folks in the wide expanse of the Pacific where Mir remnants are expected to fall probably won't see them, Mr. Regas said.

        If they were lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time, they would likely see several large fragments in what “could be a real fireworks display.” With a good pair of binoculars, they might even see the break-up, about 50 miles in the air.

        But the chances are slim.

        Mr. Regas and other staffers at the center “have been watching Mir off and on from the observatory for a long time,” he said. “Every once in a while we get a good, clear look at it.”

        On “favorable pass” nights, it looked “as bright as Jupiter,” he said. A typical pass took three minutes from one end of the sky to the other.

       



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- Want to see end of Mir? Forget it
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