UNID with possible 12-hour period

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 01:07:37 PDT

  • Next message: Barhorst L.J.C.: "RE: UNID with possible 12-hour period"

    Tuesday night just before midnight local time, while 
    looking for one more flash from geosynch flasher ASC 1 
    (15994, 85-76C), I saw another object in the vicinity.
    It was moving northwards slowly, flashing to about 
    +5.5 with a period of roughly 10.5 seconds.  However, 
    the flashes soon disappeared, and I assumed it entered 
    the Earth's shadow.  A check with alldat.tle did not 
    yield any obvious candidates.
    Wednesday night just before midnight local time, Mike 
    McCants and I both were scanning the same sky area with 
    binoculars and saw a few flashes from a slow-moving 
    northbound object, again about +5.5, period roughly 
    10.5 seconds.  Again the flashes quickly faded to
    invisible.  I just checked alldat.tle again, using data
    from both nights, and I don't get a good candidate.
    My data follow below.  Sky positions are my estimates.  
    (Mike no doubt has a better position estimate for April 
    6.  In binoculars it was first seen about 2 degrees 
    above alpha Sextans.  On April 5 I first saw it about a
    degree or less west of alpha Sextans.)
    April 5 UTC; site - 30.3086N, 97.7279W, 150m
    Time: from 4:52:45.26 to 4:53:27.30
    Sky position: from 10:00, 0.0 to 10:05, +1.0 (2000)
    April 6 UTC; site - 30.334N, 97.760W, 160m
    Time: from 4:49:58.47 to 4:50:40.86 
    Sky position: from 10:10, +1.0 to 10:15, +2.0 (2000)
    My April 6 obs. included a couple of secondary flashes 
    about one second or less after the primaries, and there
    was one pair of secondaries, each one second or less.
    Earlier in the evening, Mike and I observed USA 129 
    (24680, 96-72A) to be fairly close to predicted position.  
    Mike also observed USA 86 (22251, 92-83A) to be fairly 
    close to prediction.  For some reason I did not manage to 
    find it this time.
    Earlier we also watched a flashing Molniya that I don't
    think I have seen before, Molniya 1-49 (12156, 81-009A).
    It seemed that we could have watched it for a long time.
    Its flash period is about 2.8 seconds, and many of the 
    flashes were easy to see in binoculars, even with it at a 
    range of 15,000 km.
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
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