re: Obs 3 August 1998

Walter Nissen (
Wed, 5 Aug 1998 18:50:17 -0400 (EDT)

Don Gardner writes: 
> Hello Everyone. 
> Tonight was a night for flares and flashes (glints?) 
When observers can report details of flashing behavior and provide a more 
complete report, it can be very helpful.  If you see just one unusual 
brightening, it is probably a glint due to the changing angle between the 
Sun, the object and you, as the object moves past you.  If you see many 
brightenings, usually called flashes, this is interesting information and 
the object probably has an intrinsic rotation.  If you see the object only 
briefly, a single flash may be a glint or one of a number of flashes, most 
of which you did not see. 
If the flashes are irregular in amplitude or in time (temporal separation) 
or in duration, that is interesting information, often seen in payloads. 
If the brightness of the object varies regularly, following a more or less 
complex light curve, that is interesting.  Rocket bodies, being quite 
close to simple truncated cylinders, often flash regularly.  If a flash 
ramps up very rapidly and decays slowly, or vice versa, that is 
The PPAS codes for flashes can be quite useful; F for brief flashes, A for 
longer ones, M for very long ones, and, I suppose, "dtm", in one of its 
senses, is a fourth adjective for flashes so extended that the period is 
"difficult to measure", because the maxima of the flashes are difficult to 
locate in time. 
> USA 32 (19460) 
> USA 32 sparkled in the +1 mag range for about 3 seconds beginning 22:04:36 EDT 
> (02:04:36 UT, 4 August). 
Russell Eberst calls this 8807801.  Apparently, USA 81 = 21949 = 92- 23 A 
= 9202301 is her sister ship.  I have never seen an explanation of what 
they do or how they work, but they are highly variable and, I think, 
unpredictable as yet. 
Walter Nissen          
-81.8637, 41.3735, 256m elevation 
When the people fear the government, we have tyranny.
When the government fears the people, we have liberty.