Re: ATS 5 Centaur R/B flasher

Jason Hatton (
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 11:25:06 +0200 (MET DST)

>Hi All,
>Spotted an unexpected, slow-moving flasher Monday night (12 April)
>from 20:32 - 20:35 PDT (3:32 - 3:35 UT, 13 April).  Flashes were
>bright (~mag 3) for such a high-altitude satellite.  A SkyMap search
>today reveals that it was ATS 5 R/B (#4069, 69069B), which I
>believe is a Centaur (Centaur 18?).  (The range was over 5600 km!)
>Not wishing to lose sight of it (it was invisible between flashes --
>dimmer than magnitude +8), I fumbled blindly with my stopwatch
>and managed to time 7 consecutive flashes in 62.17 seconds for
>a flash period of 8.88 +/- .03 seconds.

>Has anyone else seen this rocket?

Yes, I made several observations of this Centaur last year,  timing a
period of 8.885s. This seems to be one of the brightest Centaur R/B's
visible. I observed a couple of times with a 6" telescope at ranges of
35,000 to 40,000km flashing as brightly as mag +8 or +9. Every other flash
seemed brighter than the intermediate flash. Further details of previous
flash measurements can be found in the BWGS flash database;

As previously promised I will try to update in the next couple of weeks the
data on Centaur rockets on the VSOHP to include recent launches & more
details on individual rockets which are particularly interesting to observe
(eg. particularly bright centaurs, those with interesting flash patterns)

Best wishes,


Jason Hatton - INSERM U 343
Hopital de l'Archet
Rte St. Antoine de Ginestiere
BP 79, 06202 Nice Cedex 03


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