Twelve-hour UNID observed again

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Sat Apr 08 2000 - 01:14:45 PDT

  • Next message: Leo Barhorst: "Obs april 7 + 8"

    Last night Mike McCants and I had pretty good luck with clouds 
    staying out of the way.  A fast-moving line of thunderstorms went 
    through and stirred up variable partly to mostly cloudy skies 
    that made us miss much of the LEO observing time.  But when the 
    sparkly flashing 12-hour (actually 11-hour and 50-some minutes)
    UNID was due, the clouds held off long enough to allow over 20 
    minutes of observation, from an altitude of about 25 degrees 
    above the horizon up to about 78 degrees, when the clouds finally 
    ended the session.  Several triple flashes separated by about .6 
    second were visible in binoculars.  Also, due to tracking it 
    quite a bit longer, it turns out that it has a variable cycle of 
    brighter and fainter maxima superimposed on it gradually getting 
    fainter as its range increases.  Each night it has gone very near 
    -- just west of -- alpha Sextans, a few (roughly 3 to 5) minutes 
    earlier, with it being at about 4:53 on April 5.  Mike has some 
    good data on it now.  Observing location was BCRC: 30.314N, 
    97.866W, 280m.
    While driving under clouds on the way to the site, I was looking 
    at stars visible beneath them to the north.  I saw a pair kind of 
    like Gemini and was wondering if it was beta (Kochab) and gamma 
    Ursa Minor when I realized that one of them was moving downwards!  
    It was Iridium 38 flaring next to Polaris!
    After arriving at the site we saw some very impressive lightning,
    including some streaks that flashed out from the clouds into clear
    dark sky.
    We were able to observe Superbird A (20040, 89-041A) flashing in 
    spite of some cloud interference which caused me to have a gap of 
    more than three minutes in my timings.
    ETS 6 (23230, 94-056A) was not too impressive, with some maxima
    possibly +8.5.
    On April 7 UTC I could not find Gorizont 24 (21759, 91-074A), and 
    last night Mike searched for it with the 8-inch telescope without 
    success.  Of course the night wasn't perfect, but some faint 
    objects were visible.
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Apr 08 2000 - 01:18:39 PDT