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  Station-spotting: ISS and spacecraft sightings (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Station-spotting: ISS and spacecraft sightings
spaceman1953
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Posts: 942
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 03-04-2010 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So last night was successful, even though it kept peeking in and out of some thin, low clouds, it was a surprise to see it drop right out of sight just after passing overhead... but we had our whole three minutes, it was VERY bright just near the end.

Friday/Saturday should be very good. I think tonight, it was going to be WAY too low for "city" viewing.

And thanks back, to you, Garry (MarylandSpace), for the "the next time is always exciting" line. You must have been reading my mind, because last night I was thinking the same thing, about most people would say, "Yeah, so what, I've seen it before."

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1600
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 03-04-2010 06:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We moved last month to a new house. Looks like we picked the right place for us as we just saw the ISS fly over from the back porch and then two minutes later saw the Delta IV GOES launch from the front porch. (We are in Guyton GA just about 25 miles north west of Savannah GA.)

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2269
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 03-04-2010 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, did you play "Here it Goes Again" by OK Go when you saw the GOES rocket go flying by?

tegwilym
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Posts: 2298
From: Crest Airpark (S36) Kent, WA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 03-05-2010 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Saw it last night, but was only 20 degrees up, so didn't bother with the telescope. I'll try tonight at 7:30pm, 60 degrees tonight, I'll share photos if it works out well!

blue_eyes
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Posts: 162
From: North Carolina, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 03-05-2010 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blue_eyes   Click Here to Email blue_eyes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We saw it last night too--AWESOME! Saw it right on cue, coming towards us from the southwest, this enormous BRIGHT jewel sailing along so smoothly and beautifully. What a masterpiece! I'm always blown away each time I see it.

John McGauley
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Posts: 144
From: Fort Wayne, Indiana USA
Registered: May 2001

posted 03-05-2010 08:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John McGauley   Click Here to Email John McGauley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got a 60-second time exposure of ISS tonight during an 88-degree elevation overflight of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Amazing pass, probably the longest and brightest I've ever seen (been watching these since 2000 or 2001).

blue_eyes
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From: North Carolina, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 03-05-2010 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blue_eyes   Click Here to Email blue_eyes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cool photo, John. Thanks for posting it!

MarylandSpace
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posted 06-24-2010 09:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So I'm driving home tonight about 9:30 EST from the high school baseball banquet watching the sky.

Looks like the ISS racing across the sky and then fading. As I pull into the driveway looks like another ISS sighting. What?

Turns out the first sighting was a Titan 4B booster at about a 1.4 brightness and the second was the ISS with a -3.3 or so.

The Heavens Above web page is listing dozens of visible satellites tonight... I wonder if the bright Moon is aiding the viewing.

gliderpilotuk
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Posts: 3208
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-29-2010 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those in the UK the ISS is very bright this week. Just passed directly overhead (80+ deg elevation) London at -4.0 brightness. Never fails to impress.

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1600
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-25-2010 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Below is a photo of the ISS flyover on Thanksgiving morning here in Guyton, Georgia (25 miles NW of Savannah). The flyover was at 6:30 a.m. so it was just at the morning twilight.

The picture was taken as a last minute thought and just with my small digital camera so the quality is not great but I wanted to share it anyway.

The moon is in the lower left and the squiggly line (that's what you get when you hand hold this type of shot) in the top right is the ISS.

Lunar rock nut
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Posts: 720
From: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-26-2010 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Had a pass over at 5:56 a.m. this morning. I stood on the front porch and the temperature was 23 deg F with crystal clear skies and a bright moon. It was worth it.

We have another pass on Saturday morning the 27th at 6:22 a.m.

issman1
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Posts: 909
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 11-26-2010 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great pictures. Can't match them but have tried unsuccessfully with my camera phone on a few occasions.

ISS is due to make evening passes over the UK during Christmas. So I'm hoping STS-133 does launch during that timeframe, just to get one last view of Discovery flying solo.

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1600
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-26-2010 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We missed this morning's fly by due to cloud cover and I was more prepared this time. Oh well, I will try again the next time the Moon and ISS align.

MarylandSpace
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Posts: 1056
From:
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posted 03-07-2011 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Beautiful, breathtaking sighting of the shuttle being chased by the ISS tonight for about 5 minutes at 6:58 pm Eastern time in the U.S.

Tom
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From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 03-07-2011 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We got a similar view a few miles north of you on Long Island... that was pretty amazing!

ejectr
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Posts: 1536
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 03-07-2011 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome 80 degree pass here in MA. Crystal clear night.

March 9 there is a 90 degree pass over my lat/long.

LM-12
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Posts: 1151
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-07-2011 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Conditions were perfect and the view was spectacular as Discovery and the ISS flew overhead at 6:55pm EST.

BA002
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Posts: 120
From: Utrecht,NL
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-08-2011 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BA002   Click Here to Email BA002     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I watched Discovery and ISS fly overhead yesterday evening and I was suprised by how little they differed in brightness so I wasn't even sure that Discovery was actually ahead of ISS.

Where can I get the best information on tracking the shuttle after undocking? Heavens Above is great for sightings of ISS but is too slow to keep up with the shuttle's course corrections so I'm never entirely sure of where and when to look.

Apollo14LMP
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Posts: 248
From: UK
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 03-08-2011 04:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo14LMP   Click Here to Email Apollo14LMP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Discovery and the ISS clearly seen from a small park in Liverpool UK. I took my 9 year old daughter out to see this amazing spectacular. We were surprised at the brightness of the shuttle in comparison to the ISS as the previous contributor noted.

An absolutely amazing sight...

My colleagues in work now ask me to check the ISS sighting websites to see if they will get the chance to see the station fly over. This can only be a good thing as people not even interested in my unique "hobby" marvel at this wonderful sight.

I am so pleased I got the chance to share this with my daughter last night - in such good viewing conditions. Sorry to see Discovery end her working life, but proud I at saw her in flight.

Make the effort go and look out for the ISS you will not be disappointed.

A safe journey home STS 133 God bless you!

MarylandSpace
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From:
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 03-08-2011 07:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am looking for another chase tonight, about 25 minutes later in the evening.

In Maryland, the Shuttle at 7:22 pm and the International Space Station at 7:23 pm should be travelling from Northwest to Southeast in the sky.

It will be about a 3 or 4 minute chase with the shuttle a little dimmer tonight.

Let's all have a great sighting tonight.

Check "Heavens Above" website for your local listing and be sure to have your location plugged in.

tegwilym
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Posts: 2298
From: Crest Airpark (S36) Kent, WA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 03-08-2011 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sad that I didn't get a chance to see ISS/Discovery fly over my house this time. Seattle clouds have been very bad. At least I was there for the launch in person, very grateful to see that historic (but sad) moment.

spaced out
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Posts: 2735
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 03-08-2011 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just watched Discovery and the ISS fly over France from my balcony with the kids, whose photos are on board as part of the "Your Face in Space" program.

I was amazed how bright the Shuttle was - as bright as the ISS. When we first spotted it I was looking ahead of it for a dimmer spot and told the kids we probably couldn't make out the Shuttle.

Then my daughter said "There's another one!" and indeed there was another shining star a short way behind that was in fact the ISS.

Beautiful!

BA002
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Posts: 120
From: Utrecht,NL
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-08-2011 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BA002   Click Here to Email BA002     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just watched Discovery and ISS pass over Holland, quite a bit further apart than yesterday. Then I thought it might be my last farewell to Discovery, now I know for sure it was. It made me sad to see her disappear into the eastern horizon and know that whenever I might see her again she will be a museum piece, a thing of the past.

hoorenz
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Posts: 824
From: The Netherlands
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 03-08-2011 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a simple camera, I did not have time to remember what the right settings were to photograph something like this (long time ago I did this) but at least I captured something.

Taken from northern part of the Netherlands, at the end of the pass, something like 10 degrees above horizon. It is a 15 second exposure shot; I realized too late that because of the twilight, I should have used a shorter exposure time.

Apollo14LMP
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From: UK
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 03-08-2011 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo14LMP   Click Here to Email Apollo14LMP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice shot!

Very similar distance between the two as last night - Discovery not quite as bright though fantastic to think you can see these amazing vehicles in our night skies.

drjeffbang
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Posts: 109
From: Virginia
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 03-08-2011 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WOW! My daughter and I just watched Discovery being trailed by the ISS. Finally, a clear night here in VA to see the last flight of the OV-103.
Spectacular.

My wife was across town dropping off some things at Goodwill and pointing out the ISS and Shuttle to people in the parking lot!

Fezman92
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Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 03-08-2011 06:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I won't have any chances of seeing it because of the area I am in. Too many houses and trees.

NavySpaceFan
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Posts: 648
From: Norfolk, VA
Registered: May 2007

posted 03-08-2011 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just saw both DISCOVERY and ISS fly over my house here in Norfolk!!! Conditions were perfect! The ISS looked like a H in my binoculars. I was very surprised by how bright DISCOVERY was, much brighter than I expected. I guess the next time I see her with my own eyes will be in the Smithsonian.

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1600
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 03-08-2011 06:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We saw the Discovery and then a glimps of the ISS tonight at 7:23PM EST here in Georgia. It was cloudy but we did see both for a moment as the clouds broke.

Fezman92
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Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 03-08-2011 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correction. I can see the ISS, I just talked to a friend of mine who is better at the degree part of it all and said I was looking for it the wrong way, making major mistakes. He said my biggest one is using a compass that was found with a big magnet stuck to it...

icarkie
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Posts: 616
From: BURTON ON TRENT /England
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 03-09-2011 02:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hoorenz:
Just a simple camera, I did not have time to remember what the right settings were to photograph something like this (long time ago I did this) but at least I captured something.
Cracking shot mate.

We had clear skies hear in the midlands. I tried... I very much tried, it was a shame. I think the passing being so low and the twilight didn't help.

I can't remember which two shuttle I've seen go over in the past.

One was around 8 minutes apart (STS-ISS). The 2nd sighting to both was around 5 degrees apart (beautiful). I think that was STS-120...

Again it was a shame about last night, but at least I can say I seen them both in the same field of view.

issman1
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Posts: 909
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 03-09-2011 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by icarkie:
I think the passing being so low and the twilight didn't help.

That's precisely what happened. But at least I did get to see Discovery flying formation with ISS on the 7th (like many others around the globe), so am content. STS-134 should also be visible in the evening skies, in late April.

MikeSpace
unregistered
posted 03-09-2011 08:28 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Discovery through Orion last night at 7:23pm Eastern time, from New Jersey.

ISS flies through Orion 7:25 p.m. last night [2 minutes after shuttle Discovery did same] Eastern time, from New Jersey.

issman1
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From: UK
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posted 04-05-2011 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Never having seen the Soyuz, does anyone know if TMA-21 will be visible from the UK tomorrow morning and when? I know ISS will be making a lengthy WSW-E pass at 0457 British Summer Time, weather-permitting as always.

Fezman92
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Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 09-04-2011 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I began doing a lot of watching the ISS, shuttle, Hubble, etc. passes starting a few months ago. When I started, all of them were around 2-4 a.m. for visible passes. About a month and a half ago they changed to 8-9 p.m. visible passes. Why did this change?

Also the brightness of the ISS seemed to have changed. When I first saw the ISS pass (2 minutes), it was around 3 a.m. and it was very, very bright and roughly the size of an iPod touch. The next few I saw were 6 minutes to 3 minutes passes and the ISS looked significantly smaller and not as bright.

Was the first pass really bright due to some trick of the eye? The first pass was a SSW/SSE and was facing the back of my house which does not get a lot of light pollution while the others were in the front of my house with more light pollution.

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 09-04-2011 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Several factors determine the visibility of a satellite - but ultimately it's geometry. You'll see the satellite only if it's illuminated by the Sun, is above your horizon, and is against a dark enough sky that you can see it.

Because the satellites you mentioned are only a couple of hundred miles up, which is relatively small compared to the diameter of the Earth, you'll only see them in the hours just after sunset or just before sunrise. In summer in the Northern Hemisphere, you'll have longer periods of possible visibility after sunset or before sunrise.

Since the Earth rotates under the satellites, they don't pass overhead at the same time every day. You may have favorable periods when the ISS has some evening passes for a couple of days in a row, then there is a long period of no visibility, and then it reappears with pre-dawn passes, as the geometry shifts.

On some of the late evening or early morning passes, the satellite will disappear before it reaches the horizon. You'll see it rapidly fade out and disappear as it enters the Earth's shadow.

The ISS passes above the horizon at your location several times a day, but not always while it's illuminated or against a dark sky. The ISS appears brightest when it's high in your sky. The angle of its solar panels relative to you will also affect its brightness. Depending on the angle between you, the ISS, and the sun, you may see the ISS brighten or dim considerably as it flies across the sky.

If you've never seen one, I highly recommend looking for an Iridium flare. Heavens-above.com will tell you when these occur for your location. The antennas on the Iridium satellites are like huge mirrors, and when the angle with the sun is just right, they get REALLY bright. Stare at the sky in the vicinity of when a flare is about to occur, and you'll suddenly see the satellite brighten to visibility and then flare to an incredible brightness - sometimes 10 times the brightness of Venus - and then disappear, all within a matter of seconds. Get a watch that's well-calibrated, scope out the part of the sky where the flare will happen, and then amaze your friends!

Mike Z
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Posts: 451
From: Ellicott City, Maryland
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 03-22-2013 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Z   Click Here to Email Mike Z     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is the best online tracking of the ISS?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

MarylandSpace
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Posts: 1056
From:
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 03-22-2013 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike, I really like and use Heavens Above.

tegwilym
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Posts: 2298
From: Crest Airpark (S36) Kent, WA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 03-25-2013 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You might also try GoSatWatch for the iPhone. It's my favorite and only $9.99 - worth it!

MarylandSpace
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Posts: 1056
From:
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 06-04-2013 12:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tonight's sky provided an incredibly clear and bright (-3.5) International Space Station sighting of over 4 minutes.

I have been troubled my macular degeneration in my left eye recently, but I believe (1) I saw length tonight rather than just a moving dot, and (2) (don't laugh) the possibility of seeing the solar arrays looking like insect antennas.

Did anyone else make similar observations?


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