9/7/07 ? Dawn Spacecraft Launch by Jim Albers

7/7/07 Update: Launch delayed to sometime in September 

Updated plot will be posted when new launch date is announced and trajectory data is available.

If on Sep 7, 2007, the Dawn spacecraft  is launched from Cape Canaveral, the spacecraft will move into the sunlight shortly after separation from the Delta 2 launch vehicle. Observers around the Pacific Ocean have the best and earliest chance of seeing the spacecraft as it moves away from Earth (estimated sun glint magnitude ~9). The rest of Earth between -45 and +70 degrees latitude will have an opportunity to attempt to observe the spacecraft for at least a few hours during the 24 hours after launch before the spacecraft gets too far away using a CCD and a medium to large amateur telescope (estimated sun glint magnitude ~17).

Prediction for any observer location are available from the JPL Horizons website .

Launch Blog

Spaceflightnow Status Center


Maximum predicted sun glint brightness of Dawn worldwide

[ dawn_ref_070907-071126_070717_v1.bsp ]

Latitude from -90 to +90 and Longitude from -180 to +180, tick marks every 30 degrees

Color scale on right side of plot from black:20th magnitude to white:9th magnitude

Sun must be < -9 degrees elevation

Includes effects of atmospheric extinction, solar phase angle and range

(Magnitude Equation from David Dunham)