Time to see Superbird A

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Mon Dec 02 2002 - 20:07:05 EST

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "Re: Unexpected and Unidentified Satellite Flare"

    Right now Superbird A is pretty nearly due south of Texas, 
    which means it's in good view from just about all of 
    North America, I think.  And the Moon is not an issue for 
    a number of nights.  So it is a good time to see it.  
    If you haven't seen it yet, my suggestion is (unless you 
    have a very dark site and want to try to see it without 
    magnification) to use low-power binoculars (with 7x35 or 
    7x50 being plenty of power) so that you have a nice wide 
    field of view.  Then find near its predicted position a 
    recognizable asterism that you can see easily with 
    With a telescope, the lower power the better, and even 
    then you should be very confident that it will be pointed 
    at exactly the correct position at the correct time!  
    (You're not very likely to see something that's outside 
    of your field of view.)
    The problem with seeing it without magnification is that 
    its flashes, though bright, are so fast that their 
    apparent magnitude isn't as bright as one might wish.
    Now I just wish that I could provide the exact time to 
    look for it from given locations.  Last night (Dec. 1/2) 
    I saw it from here at about 3:30-35 UTC (9:30-35 PM CST).  
    A search strategy would be to look for about 25 to 30 
    seconds of every minute beginning about five to ten 
    minutes before you think it might start flashing brightly.  
    Looking at an old message from Rob Matson, it looks like 
    it flashes a few minutes earlier in the west than in the 
    It flashes roughly 60 to 90 seconds later per night.
    Here's a current elset:
    1 20040U 89041A   02335.19310297 -.00000104  00000-0  10000-3 0  3863
    2 20040   8.5560  48.1706 0005387 148.8462 211.0674  0.99741008 48690
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
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