unid oddball blinker

B Magnus B{ckstr|m (b@eta.chalmers.se)
Mon, 21 Dec 1998 21:41:15 +0100 (MET)

Greetings all!

A few hours ago when I came home from work, I stepped out on the balcony
to gaze at the unusually clear sky for a while.

I spotted the satellite very near its culmination high in the west; it was
about mag +1 and faded to invisibility in about 30 seconds.  Then, after
some 15 more seconds, the was a short blink to 0 mag -- the blink lasted
at most a quarter of a second.  I was following the path of the object in
case it was a tumbler which might brighten again.

I've seen tumbling satellites, strobing satellites, iridiums, but I've never
seen something fade slowly and then blink once at me.

I'm currently out of reach of a tracking program; here's the data if anyone
wishes to try to find the object:

Time 16:52 (+-2, no watch) UTC
Site 57.667N, 11.917E, 125m ASL
Track direction close to direct south.  It passed fairly close to Alderamin;
I don't recall now whether it passed above or below the star.


    Clear skies all,
    Magnus