ETS 6 flashes Tue. night 8/18

Matson, Robert (
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 15:21:30 -0700

Hi All,

This message is for all U.S. observers.  ETS-6 (USSPACECOM #23230) will
be making an excellent flashing pass for nearly everyone in the lower 48
states the evening of Tuesday, August 18, 1998.  The flashes will first
seen in the southern states, work their way north, and then back south
again.  Depending on your equipment and location, these flashes may be
visible for more than two hours.  Binoculars are recommended, but the
brightest flashes will be naked-eye visible.

Florida and southern Texas will see the flashes first, starting around
2:15 UT August 19th, above and to the left of Scorpius.  Flashes will
continue to get brighter as the flash centerline works its way further
north.  (Peak for Houston and Kennedy Space Center looks like
about 2:55 UT.)  By 3:30 UT, the centerline is an arc passing through
Salt Lake City, Colorado, southern Kansas, the Missouri/Arkansas
border, the Tennessee/Kentucky border, and Virginia.  The northern
extreme is reached at 4:20 UT -- an arc through Vancouver,
Washington state, northern Idaho, southern Montana, northern
Wyoming, southern South Dakota and Minnesota, Wisconsin,
Michigan, Ontario and Newfoundland.

The flash centerline then begins to head back south again.  By 5:00 UT,
the track is centered over northern California, Nevada, southern Utah,
northern New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, the Kentucky/Tennessee
border, northern Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Delaware.
At 5:10 UT, the arc runs from southern California to Dallas to North
Carolina, and by 5:30 it's back to the southern tips of Texas and

With a telescope, an observer almost anywhere in the U.S.,
particularly in the east or midwest (evening twilight interferes
in the west) may be able to see flashes for over two hours!  Use
the following orbital elements from OIG in your favorite satellite
tracking software to keep track of ETS-6's location from 2:15
to about 5:40 UT:

ETS 6            6.0  0.0  0.0  5.0 d
1 23230U 94056A   98223.43634900 -.00000097  00000-0  10000-3 0  5578
2 23230  14.1853 345.5720 5029822  53.2350 343.0833  1.67088865 24241

Expect the brightest flashes to reach magnitude +2.  The flash
period is about 16.4 seconds.  --Rob