Unidentified Bright Flare

Cees Bassa (c.g.bassa@phys.uu.nl)
Thu, 13 Aug 1998 00:14:07 +0200

Hey There!

	After the Flare Judy May mentioned some hours ago, I saw one too.
I also was observing the Perseid Meteor shower when at approximately 23:05
CET, 21:05 UTC, a bright flare (around -3) appeared just below Vega. The
duration of the flare itself was around 5 seconds, but as a normal Iridium
Flare it did not fade away completely. It stayed at mag 1 for about 30
seconds when it flared again, now at a magnitude of -1. The satellite was
moving and at the time of the second flare it was very close to the zenit.
The satellite fade to magnitude 1 where it stayed until it reached an
altitude of 60=B0 where it disappeared.=20
	The satellite was moving from South to North, and when I saw it I
immediately thought of an Iridium Flare. I used IRIDFLAR and the GSOC
predictions to check if there was a flare visible but they both didn't
predict one. I also used STSPLUS and SatSpy to check if there were any
Iridium satellites above my location, but they showed that the planes of
the Iridium satellites were not crossing my Zenit.
	At this point my ability to solve this problem stops, and that is why I
posted this question on the mailinglist. Which satellite was it?

	Here are some facts:

Time of flare:	1998-08-12	21:05 UTC (+/- 2 minutes, since I didn't have
light to check my watch)

Since the first flare occured closely to Vega (within 3=B0) it's altitude
must have been some 77=B0 at an     azimuth of 191=B0.

The second flare occured some 30 seconds later at an altitude of 85=B0 in th=
e
west.


My location is:
51=B054'41" North
05=B010'25" East
Elevation: 0m