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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Feb > Feb 3

Space Mirror To Light Up Europe & North Africa

From: Stig Agermose <stig.agermose@get2net.dk>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 19:15:48 +0100 (MET)
Fwd Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 20:23:06 -0500
Subject: Space Mirror To Light Up Europe & North Africa

Source: Arizona Daily Star,


The link to the comprehensive "Sky And Telescope"
article is preceded by an asterisk.



Wednesday, 3 February 1999

Russian space mirror to light up the world [Thursday]

Scripps-Howard News Service


A light as much as 10 times brighter than a full moon will be
beamed down on a swath of Europe and North America tomorrow
evening as Russian cosmonauts deploy a 100-foot-wide space

The device, called the Znamya (Banner) 2.5 space mirror, will be
fanned out on a metal frame near the Mir space station for about
14 hours as the spacecraft orbits 225 miles above Earth.

The experiment, conceived by Russian engineers who hope to one
day shorten the long winter nights of their country's far
northern cities, will involve bouncing sunlight off the
reflector onto ground targets from Kazakhstan to Devil's Lake,
N.D. (The reflection will not be visible from Tucson.)

If successful in keeping the beam pointed at Earth using remote
controls, the cosmonauts could light up a track three to four
miles wide for several seconds to several minutes at a time.

Originally slated for a test last year, the Znamya experiment
was put off due to money woes afflicting the Russian Space
Agency. It was finally launched as part of a re-supply mission
to the space station last October.

To observers under clear skies on the ground near the track, the
two spacecraft should appear as bright double stars.

"Most people don't realize you can see orbiting satellites from
the ground," said J. Kelly Beatty, senior editor of Sky and
Telescope magazine, which has been closely following the
mission. "Most are quite faint and go unnoticed, but this one
could get so bright it will be impossible to miss. Those who
aren't expecting it may think they've spotted a UFO."

For more information about the *Znamya Mirror, including
possible locations for viewing the test reflection, visit Sky
and Telescope magazine

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