Re: UNID with possible 12-hour period

From: Mike McCants (mikem@fc.net)
Date: Sun Apr 09 2000 - 11:00:07 PDT

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    Steve LaLumondiere wrote:
    
    >I spotted what may have been Ed and Mike's UNID several days ago.  The maxima 
    >from the object I saw were 10.5 sec apart.  I also remember that I could see 
    >quite a few faint minima (spacing between these was less than 1 second) 
    >between the brighter maxima.
    
    Ed and I watched the new unid for over an hour last night and Steve's
    description fits.  At one time near the zenith last night, we saw
    a sequence of 2 fainter flashes followed by a bright flash several
    times in a row.  The bright flash gradually grew brighter, reaching
    perhaps 4th magnitude (at a range of about 7000 miles about 4:47UT).
    Then it grew fainter and the pattern changed.  Even at 13000 miles
    an hour later, it was easily visible in the 8 inch.  This visibility
    does not seem to match object 990907.  The latter seems to be
    intrinsically smaller and fainter and becomes very difficult at
    larger ranges.  I would guess that object 90096 would be easily
    visible at apogee flashing to mag 10.5.  But these really are
    specular flashes from a flat reflector.  They are not like the
    flashes from a Centaur rocket.
    
    >Using SkyMap, I convinced myself that I had 
    >seen Molniya 1-90.
    
    Let me try to convince you otherwise.  This Molniya was closer to
    90096 as seen from California than as seen from here (10 minutes
    time or 15 degrees altitude at declination 0 where Ed first spotted
    object 90096), but your description matches object 90096 and it
    really is a different object.
    
    Mike McCants
    Austin, Tx
    
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