Metop-Flare and Lacrosse 5

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Fri Apr 18 2008 - 20:59:49 UTC

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    Despite more or less dense Cirrus clouds I managed to see a bright (going 
    beyond mag -4) flare from the left forward pointing ASCAT antenna of MetOp-A 
    (2006-044A) right in UMa yesterday at 19:59:12 UTC, 17-APR-08. 
    Flares from sun-synchronous satellites like Metop show a distinct seasonal 
    variation. There are no flares during the winter (except for high latitude 
    observers), early spring sees flares from the central ASCAT antenna (which 
    will move toward the tropics for the summer while flares from the left 
    forward ASCAT antenna (the left backward one for Southern Hemisphere 
    observers) are lighting up the summer skies for temperate observers.
    I also caught a glimpse of Lacrosse 5 (2005-016A) passing Epsilon UMa at 
    20:34:47 UTC, 17-APR-08. This was 8 seconds later that expected with the TLEs 
    from the latest classfd.tle which I downloaded (epoch 99.82500038). During 
    the half minute or so of my observation (before the clouds won the upper hand 
    again) I did not see any flares or disappearances.
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
    49.8822N, 8.6558E
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