Flare obs+unknown/s? 28March/03April2008

From: Greg Roberts (grr@telkomsa.net)
Date: Fri Apr 04 2008 - 10:02:08 UTC

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    Observations 28 Mar and 03 April 2008:
    -----------------------------------------------
    
    Cosatrak 1 (Computerised satellite Tracking System).
    MINTRON low light level CCD surveillance camera (0.005 lux typical
    in non integration mode) and 0.00005 lux in STARLIGHT mode with 128
    frame integration.
    
    Used with 200mm focal length f/2.8 lens,integrating for 128 frames
    which is equivalent to a max  exposure of 2.58 seconds per image.
    
    Site 0433 : Longitude 18.51294 deg East, Latitude  33.94058 deg S,
    Elevation 10 metres - situated in Pinelands (Cape Town), South Africa
    
    
    
    Unknown/s?
    ============
    
    Whilst doing shadow entry observations of geostationary satellites for
    the southern hemisphere flare season I found possibly one or two
    satellites not in the SPACETRACK database.
    
    One or both may be #96041 aka UI041 in the ESA#10 database
    
    50mm f/1.8 lens
    96041 96 541A   0433 G 20080328202226800 56 15 1158070+073021 39  +070 05
    96041 96 541A   0433 G 20080328202814800 56 15 1203560+071852 39  +070 05
    96041 96 541A   0433 G 20080328203501300 56 15 1210360+070249 39  +070 05
    96041 96 541A   0433 G 20080328204021800 56 15 1216060+065100 39  +070 05
    
    200mm f/2.8 lens  same satellite??????? as above
    96041 96 541A   0433 G 20080403204019500 56 15 1239360+055933 39  +065 05
    96041 96 541A   0433 G 20080403204224600 56 15 1241410+055521 39  +065 05
    96041 96 541A   0433 G 20080403204343000 56 15 1242590+055249 39  +065 05
    
    I found the satellite on the 3 April 2008 and measured it which shows that
    it has a relatively high inclination. I then recalled that on the 28 March
    I had used a 50mm focal length lens and done a 4 hour track on the Clarke
    belt but when I came to analyse it on the 29 March I found that the image
    scale and magnitude penetration was not good enough for the purpose
    required. I found the satellite on this DVD recording and measured as
    above.
    
    
    Southern hemisphere geosat flare observations:
    ===============================================
    
    3 April 2008 all times UT, RA/Dec J2000
    
    
    GSAT2       03018A #27807  20h25m52sUT  RA12h43m39s Dec+05d25'23"
    SYRACUSE 3A 05041B #28885  20h30m09sUT  RA12h43m27s Dec+05d26'04"
    AFRISAT1    96002B #23765  20h35m49sUT  RA12h44m24s Dec+05d58'26"
    INTELSAT 12 00068A #26590  20h39m00sUT  RA12h43m14s Dec+05d25'11"
    UNKNOWN     96041?         20h43m43sUT  RA12h42m59s Dec+05d52'49"
    TURKSAT 1C  96040B #23949  20h48m56sUT  RA12h41m56s Dec+05d28'55"
    NIGCOMSAT 1 07018A #31395  20h49m33sUT  RA12h40m22s Dec+05d25'40"
    TURKSAT 2A  01002A #26666  20h49m47sUT  RA12h40m33s Dec+05d31'06"
    EXPRESS AM1 04043A #28463  20h58m25sUT  RA12h40m21s Dec+05d28'02"
    
    
    Notes:
    ==========
    
    (1) I started observing shortly before 18h UT when the first observable
        flare might be seen above a nearby roof. However I dont only have bad
        weather to compete with but I have to also suffer from living in a
        third world country going down the drain. We are now subject to power
        cuts three times a week-sundays excluded, for two hours at a time,
        between 1800UT and 2000UT which effectively makes LEO satellite
        observing virtually impossible in the evening. This situation is
        going to last for the next four months, but power cuts are expected
        to continue until at least the year 2013 due to a colossal blunder
        made by the current government in deciding a few years back not to
        build power stations- now we have insufficient power for the country!
        These power cuts will take place even if there is sufficient power
        available. Households also have to cut their electricity consumption
        by 10% or be fined!!  Needless to say the officials responsible for
        this major **** up get enormous annual bonuses - roughly 5x the
        capital I had to retire on - as you can guess I and MANY others
        are fuming about the whole business.
    
        Anyway I was unable to do anything until after the power came back
        on at 20hrs UT when I was finally stopped by cloudy weather- I cant
        win...
    
        A current "joke" doing the rounds is
    
        year 1948 : South Africa had white power
        year 1994 : South Africa had black power
        year 2008 : South Africa has no power...
    
    Cheers
    Greg
    
    
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