RE: did I observe Cosmos 158?

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Thu Apr 21 2011 - 14:24:01 UTC

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    Ralf Vandebergh wrote:
    > an object with clear reddish color appeared
    > in the Big Dipper and was tumbling very strange and
    > irrigular, one of the nicest and strangest objects
    > I’ve ever seen. The object moved from South to NNW 
    > and searched in Calsky until mag 8 but only one object
    > matched with the orbit and direction: Cosmos 158,
    > the first prototype soviet navigation satellite
    > launched in 1967.
    > Is there any comparing data available of this satellite
    > matching my sighting? It was listed in Calsky as mag 6.4
    > but was much brigher and visible with the naked eye,
    > maybe due to the tumbling.
    I have on record 20 observations of Cosmos 158 (67045A / 2801) by Russell Eberst between Apr 1997 and Oct 2010, always steady and usually mag 6 or 7; brightest: mag 5.5. It is in a 74 deg orbit, which does not fit well with the observed motion from S to NNW, which seems more like that of a sun-synchronous object.
    On further checking, I find that your planned target Aureole 2 rocket (73107B / 7004) passed near 21:19 UTC, but Cosmos 158 passed about 1 h earlier, not several minutes later, and it did not pass through the Big Dipper.
    If you can provide a more precise description of the object's path through the stars, it might prove identifiable.
    Ted Molczan
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