bright, irregular flasher

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Sat, 17 Aug 1996 16:51:59 -0400

THIRTY.DAT from OIG is unusually (and mostly uselessly) bloated this week, 
but it contains at least one gem. 
Last evening I picked up 
Molniya 1-89 r (?) 
1 24274U 96045B   96229.56120637  .00268104  78065-5  37425-3 0    88 
2 24274  62.7977 242.7227 0170940 131.4284 230.1687 15.83471476   260 
at least as bright as 2nd mag (I estimate 1st) as an UnID while I was 
watching Feng Yun 1-1.  It was at a range of 308km and flashing very 
irregularly.  (This is the one Mike mentioned as having an incorrect 
SPACECOM catalog #).  Put on quite a show. 
With high drag factors like that, you might expect it a little earlier 
than shown by many tracking programs.  The error will grow approximately 
quadratically with time. 
Walter Nissen