Help identification

From: alain.figer@club-internet.fr
Date: Thu Aug 23 2007 - 12:14:25 EDT

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    Observation on : 17 august 2007 ;

    Place : 44.574 N 6.682 E ; altitude 1850 m ;

    excellent transparency of sky ; very much artificial light ;

    12 satellites seen in about an hour including an unidentified one.

     

    I request help for identifying that one, since reliable timings for its pass were lacking, so that I can’t calculate its orbital elements.

     

    That night, I had had first a somewhat abstracted look at the ISS at the end of its pass

    (without seeking to time its eclipse, since I was in fact looking more attentively at the Cosmos 2278 rocket).

    4 minutes after the ISS, whereas I was busy photographing some other field of stars,

    I noticed a third unexpected satellite, apparently on the ISS orbit or so, mag 3 at the left of Epsilon Pegasi.

    Its brightness was decreasing, so I followed it using binoculars 10 x 50 till it eclipsed in Aquarius sligthly lower than Alpha-Gamma Aqr. The eclipse was recorded at 19h57,0 UT

    According to the Heavens-Above prediction, ISS was due to eclipse at the left of Epsilon Pegasi at 19 h 52m49s UT, altitude 26 ESE .

    During the observation of the unexpected one I had immediately thought it might have been another junk object following ISS on the ISS orbit,  and I took only the approximative eclipse time. But, a few minutes after the loss of the eclipsed satellite I realized that due to its eclipse being lower in the sky, as well as 4 mn after that of the ISS, the satellite must have probably been at a significantly higher altitude, hence not on the ISS orbit.

    The bad fact was I was no more able to be certain of the exact trail among the stars. I could not decide if the satellite had decidedly passed left or right from Pi Aquarii ! What a drammatic junk observation !

    The most probable is perhaps having observed a satellite inclined at 56-57 , maybe not more. But I didn’t find any good candidate (Lacrosse for example). The bad is I can’t exclude formally a 51-52 inclination, or possibly less. However the pass did not fit that of Abrixas rocket.

    Any idea  (other than a plane) ?

     

    Alain

    France

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