'I saw Iridium'

Bjoern Gimle (bjorn@tt-tech.se)
Fri, 22 Aug 1997 15:48:06 +0200

Is this statement becoming as trivial as 'I saw Mir' ?

Yesterday at 20:27 UT, with our sky still blue, I happened to
look to the NE, and saw a brilliant 'star' about 30 degrees above
the horizon, left of Perseus. It was brighter than Vega, I make it
about -1. 
Realizing it might be an Iridium, I picked up the binoculars after
admiring the scene for about 20 seconds, so as not to lose it when
it faded.
When I had it in my field of view, there were TWO satellites 
at magnitude +1, moving with same speed and direction in azimuth,
but about 060 and 120 degrees rel.to horizon, closing in !
When they were closest, they were about one degree apart.
The one going up, which turned out to be Iridium 9, faded slowly,
the other one was about magnitude +6 twenty seconds later, and turned
out to be Cosmos 1900. With the Molczan elsets I had, it was even
more spectacular - within 0.3 seconds at the intersection of tracks!

Try the elsets below with SkyMap, my coordinates, 7 degree FOV,
point at gam Per or a little left of it, and request 1-second
tick marks to watch this chiller.

COLA predicts the physical min distance to 78 km, ie mainly a
radial distance.

SatName( 1)=Cosmos 1900      6.0  2.5  0.0  5.5 v
NORAD( 1)=18665
1 18665U 87101A   97226.04818054 -.00000050 +00000-0 +12394-4 0 05950 
2 18665 066.0781 215.4376 0030391 124.3320 236.0669 14.51607895517219 
SatJD( 1)=2450682.351741
SatDur( 1)=   13.98105
Autolocate( 1)= 10.5934, 39.9081
SatName( 2)=Iridium 9        3.0  0.0  0.0  6.0 d
NORAD( 2)=24839
1 24839U 97030D   97226.15577885 +.00000125 +00000-0 +37610-4 0 00829 
2 24839 086.4060 138.3776 0001295 072.9085 287.2257 14.34216937008231 
.
-- 

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