Near Perigee Pass #25579 Irid 11A CZ r

JRBURCA@aol.com
Thu, 31 Dec 1998 22:25:20 EST

In the past, I've not paid close attention to the decaying objects.  On a few
ocassions I had checked and it seemed nothing would be visible from my
location.  In the last couple of days, I've noticed quite a few decayers were
making visible passes.  I guess it's just luck of the draw.  

Tonight, the sky was very hazy with only the Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter
visible naked eye from where I watched, which did not give a view of the
entire sky.  I watched for #25580 Irid 11A S/D, # 04583 Meteor 1-6, #25579
Irid 11A CZ r, and #25065 ETS-7 H2 r from 0130 to 0200 UTC 01 Jan.1998
(Dec.31 local).  Although seen yesterday evening, I couldn't spot #04583
Meteor 1-6 which was to culminate around 01:31 UTC probably due to the
poor seeing conditions.  The same was true for #25580 Irid 11A S/D.

The highlight and why I wanted to post was about the pass of #25579 Irid
11A CZ r .  Using Alan Pickup's dklist.txt and STS Plus, it was to culminate
at 01:43:48 UTC high in the east going N-S.  I spotted it on time at first
hoping
it might be as bright as Jupiter but a quick glance showed it to be brighter
than Saturn but not as bright as Jupiter.  Anyway it really cut through the
haze.
I didn't realize until later checks that it had made a near perigee pass at an
altitude of about 190 km. and a range of around 240 km.  Another bit of good
luck coupled with the bad luck of a thick haze.  Of course, its apparent
motion
across the sky was relatively rapid.

Then at 01:58 UTC #25065 ETS-7 H2 r (which I saw yesterday evening) made
a near zenith W-E pass.  Again it appeared to me to be about as bright as
Saturn.

At 02:01 UTC Iridium 76 made a nice -6 mag. flare low in the south.

--  Jake Rees
    Burbank, Calif., USA
    (34.173 N., 118.358 W)  190 meters