Re: Is ERS-2 a flaring sat?

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Sun Aug 18 2002 - 20:07:01 EDT

  • Next message: paul: "8305PG 19aug 02h UT"

    I saw ERS-2 (95-021A, 23560) flare last night to one-power
    magnitude when it was predicted by Quicksat to be +6.5 to
    +7.5.  Time was about 5:06 UTC.  My cousin and I saw a -2
    flare in the same vicinity at about 2:50; that seems very
    consistent with MOS 1-B (90-013A, 20478 -- no longer 
    operational, I believe).  The observing site location last 
    night was Dripping Springs, Texas: 30.188N, 98.088W, 350m.
      
    It seems to me that many of the Earth-observing satellites
    in sunsynchonous orbits may flare from time to time.  (Of
    course, any payload may flare sometimes.)  After last night, 
    I was thinking of a new branch of our hobby -- spotting 
    flaring payloads in Ursa Major (northern hemisphere, of 
    course!).  Besides ERS-2, I saw three or four others.  
    (Admittedly a couple were only visible in binoculars, as I
    was scanning the area after seeing a couple of them, but 
    they were still much brighter than predicted.)  
    
    I wonder about the geometry of these.  From here, these 
    are all northbound evening passes in the northwest -- in 
    the general direction of the Sun's azimuth, I believe.  
    Some are quite low in the sky.  I've seen SPOT 4 and SPOT 
    5, Envisat, etc., do the same sort of thing, all in the 
    general vicinity of Ursa Major (during our local summer).
    
    Iridiums 911 (97-030G, 24842) and 914 (97-030A, 24836) both
    did very nice flashes last night, seen by cousins and me.
    
    USA 136 Centaur Rk (97-068B, 25035).  Using the elset 
    generated by Int2, I did see it last night but did not 
    manage to get a positional measurement.  It was not hard to 
    see in the 10x50s.  The 1.2-second tumble period really 
    helps!  Here's a new Int2-generated elset for tonight:
    
    USA 136 Cent r   8.6  3.0  0.0  3.5 v   20
    1 25035U 97068B   02230.65970412 -.00001059  00000-0  00000+0 0    04
    2 25035  64.1577 125.7187 7248331 249.6355    .0000  2.02935203    06
    
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
    
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