UNID geosynch (?)

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Sun Dec 29 2002 - 05:53:59 EST

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    Last night while looking with 10x50 binoculars for 
    Superbird A ("A0"?) to start flashing, at about 3:52 
    UTC I saw something else flashing rapidly (2.5 seconds) 
    to possibly +6.5 not very far to its west (a degree or 
    so).  At that time Superbird (which I could not see 
    yet) was at about RA 0:21, Dec -10.3 (2000), and I 
    think the UNID was near 0:16:30, -10.0.  Mike McCants 
    got the object in his scope, and we observed it for at 
    least 30 minutes, until it became too faint.
    If the UNID really is geosynchronous, tonight (Sunday 
    evening local time, Dec. 30 UTC) it and Superbird A0 
    may be even closer together.  Unfortunately, it appears 
    that our weather here will be unfavorable tonight and 
    possibly tomorrow night also.  
    If it turns out that Mike has identified the UNID with
    Findsat, I beg your pardon!  (I checked it with geo.tle,
    eccen.tle, and mccants.tle and did not get a match.)
    Last night was good for flashing geosynchs.  Besides 
    that UNID, I was also able to see these with my 10x50 
    84-114A 15385 Spacenet 2 (flash period about 96.5 sec)
    85-087A 16101 Intelsat 512 (about 17.1 sec)
    87-040A 17969 Gorizont 14 (about 87.1 sec)
    89-041A 20040 Superbird A (or A0, about 22.6/11.3 sec)
    91-046A 21533 Gorizont 23 (about 55.7 sec)
    I saw a few Superbird flashes without binoculars, and 
    some of Intelsat 512's probably were bright enough if I
    had not been looking at it from outside my apartment.
    Gorizont 23 was faint, maybe +7.0 at best.  Gorizont 
    14 had some secondary flashes visible in Mike's 12x80
    finder scope.  Mike found Spacenet 2 first; he was 
    looking for either it or GSTAR 1, which were very close
    together all evening.  (Even with his high-power
    eyepiece, we could not see any sign of GSTAR 1.)
    We saw two solar panel Iridium flares, Ir 35 (very 
    nice!) and Ir 97"?" (fainter than predicted).  Ir 36 
    -4 antenna flare was as predicted.
    It was a very pretty evening; many objects -- too many 
    to report -- were easily visible!
    Hipparcos at about 8,000 km was attempted but not found.
    All but Intelsat 512 were observed from BCRC, 30.315N,
    97.866W, 280m.
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
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