Re: Relay of sat decay seen

Jim (kj5tf@madisoncounty.net)
Thu, 31 Dec 1998 10:48:45 -0600

Ron Wetjen wrote:
> 
> Hi again Jim,
> 
> Yeah, I also subscribed to the SeeSat list after I found that Web Site
> ... should be interesting.  I knew things were falling all the time, so
> this is kind of neat to actually get a chance to know where and when to
> maybe catch a view of something.
> 
> Well, as for last night ... it was one of those "lucky" observations.
> Just finished watching a movie, and had just walked out of the theater,
> and started walking towards a restaurant nearby to try and grab a dinner
> afterwards.  As I walked out with my friend, we commented on the weather
> ... it was rather foggy ... and looked up to say you can still see
> stars.  That's when I saw this bright object ... which I at first,
> thought was an airplane.  As I looked at it longer ... noticed it was
> moving WAY to fast for a plane (actually was thinking UFO right then!)
> ... and thats when a "tail" formed and started changing colors (orange
> and green).  I was speechless as I watched it ... and then I asked my
> friend if she saw it ... which she did!  Thought it might have been a
> meteor, but it was too bright (reflected sunlight?) before I saw the
> tail, and traveled slower than "typical" meteors I've seen.  That's what
> made me think, it was either a satellite or space junk re-entering!
> 
> Well, I wasn't prepared for it, so my recollection my be a bit off ...
> but I first spotted it maybe 70-80 degrees elevation ... heading
> somewhere between 330-345 degrees.  It covered a good portion of the
> northern sky ... maybe 20 degrees above the horizon when it
> disappeared.  I'd guess it lasted 2-3 seconds.  Next time (if there is
> one), I'll be more prepared!
> 
> 73, Ron
> 
> --
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Hi, well looking for sat decays can be time consumeing as i look at all
the info overload on seesat list. Like all lists, and the internet in
general it can take over too much space in your mind! Some of us need
to limit incomeing bits as we have limits!  :)

What we need to have is one or two persons who are motivated enuf to
notify other SeeSaters in the area under a decay watch - like north
america or whatever... useing the internet quite afew observers could be
alerted.

Just a thought - if someone with the smarts and right software, with
time for such fun wanted to I would be glad to relay messages via email
to anyone who wanted to be alerted. There is software (i think) to
narrow down the decay watch areas, but I dont have time to keep up with
all things...  

We just had several nice evening passes of the International Space Stn. 
here. The solar array gets allot of sun as it reaches the eastern sky
and can get up to 0 magnitude, or as bright as the brightest riseing
winter stars. One thing thats fun is when Shuttle makes a visit to ISS
and major construction results in observable debris. In a day or so it
speeds up in front of ISS as it gets into a lower orbit. And binoculars
are all you need. You might not spot a lost wrench or anything small, 
but pretty small objects can catch a big sunglint and there you are!

The colors you report seeing orange and green are typical as far as I
know of satellite junk. My only sighting of a confirmed satellite rkt
decay was the ame colors. Did you notice any sparks comeing off?
We sure did! Pretty sure we heard sonic boom's as well when that big
Russian rkt stage passed right overhead! The pastel colors orange,
green, etc spread out like a pretty rainbow ribbon from the NW sky to SW
horizon.

            cul,  enjoy   Jim   KJ5TF   KIngston, Arkansas