Curious sighting

Denise Mills (
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 08:56:58 -0400

Dear SeeSat-L folks,
This my first posting, and I hope that I am doing it correctly.

My name is Tom Troszak and I have been watching satellites off and on
since about 1968 (at age 4). Recently I have gotten my family to watch
me and we have been observing Iridium flares and all sorts of
interesting phenomena and including the SL-16 rocket(very cool!), space
station Mir, etc.  I even managed to get two teenage boys and my wife to
get up at 5:30 AM to see an Iridium flare.

On the evening of August 4, 1999 while we were waiting for the "new"
SL-16 rocket to appear, we observed a satellite with a brightness I
would estimate at approx. magnitude 1.5 - 2.0 but in at least two parts,
a brighter part followed closely by a slightly dimmer part. Both parts
appeared reddish, instead of the usual silvery speck. My children
thought they saw other fainter objects between the two. 

The object that best fits the time, etc. observed here in Asheville, NC,
USA is Cosmos 1782. Our location (for prediction purposes) is: 35.601 N,
82.554 W. The object was observed travelling from SSW to NNW passing
through about 45deg.W at approx 22:23:00 Eastern Time, Aug 4, 1999. the
prediction for Cosmos1782 (from GSOC) was for 75degW. at roughly the
same time. Sorry to be so vague, I don't have the notes with me. 

This message is kind of old now, but first I wrote to GSOC and got back
a form letter(understandable) which recommended this group.

A look at the description of this object predicts a maximum mag. of 3.3.
Normally from our very light polluted city viewing location that would
be very dim to us.

If this object was observed in the process of re-entering the atmosphere
or something, I imagine that one of you would know already. Perhaps we
saw unrelated debris, or perhaps we are just seeing things...

We looked for Cosmos 1782 again two nights later, and were not able to
see it at the predicted time, but we did see two very horizonal bright
orange "shooting stars" travelling in the exact direction the satellite
should have been going at exactly the time that it should have "peaked"
in slightly lower than the place it should have appeared. Another weird
coincidence, I imagine. 

We were just curious if anyone knew what we saw on Aug 4? If anyone has
any interest in this, I can search my notes for a more exact time.I will
hard to take better notes about time, etc. now that I know that there is
someone actually interested in sat. observation. Thanks!

Tom Troszak, Asheville, NC USA 35.601N, 82.554W