New globalstar observed?

Edward S Light (edlight@juno.com)
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 21:45:25 EDT

This evening, using these elements recently posted here:

 Globalstar, 24 Apr 98, 22:38:34 UT
1 91234U 980xxA   98115.01050429 -.00000116  00000-0  00000+0 0    13
2 91234  52.0033  89.0530 0009877 258.4010 101.5767 13.02667966    03

we tried to see the newly launched object(s) and were rewarded by a
spectacular sight.  At about 00:33:50 UTC (25 April 1998), we saw what
looked like a little comet
passing about 2 degrees below beta Aur which brightened to easy naked-eye
visibility (about magnitude zero, like Capella) at maximum. As it moved
to the right, its appearance was fluctuating.  Later, at about 00:37:30
UTC, in binoculars, we saw this object pass near, and about as bright as,
theta UMi (mag 5.0), at which time it looked just like a "normal"
starlike satellite.  Did anyone else happen to see this fascinating
apparition?  I wonder how come the rocket was still firing hours after
launch, or did we just happen to chance upon an orbit adjusting firing? 
Incidentally, the object
passed in excellent agreement with the above TLE, i.e. within a few
seconds (timing is not our main concern) and a degree in the sky.

Clear and dark skies!

Ed Light
Lakewood, NJ, USA
40.107 N, 074.232 W

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