ETS 6 spectacular

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Wed Dec 01 2010 - 01:14:23 UTC

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    I went outside my apartment to look for Iridium 23 
    (to see if it was flashing) but did not see it.  
    However, just before giving up and going back 
    inside I saw a very bright flash and then another 
    one about 9-10 seconds later, and they continued 
    for at least five minutes.  It was not moving much 
    and proved to be ETS 6 (94-056A, 23230).  These 
    were at least +1 magnitude flashes if not brighter, 
    although outside my apartment is a difficult site 
    for estimating magnitude due to much light trespass 
    from all around.  They very easily outshone alpha 
    Ceti (mag. +2.5), the brightest nearby star.  I 
    couldn't see Aldebaran due to trees or a building.
    So, this was from 0:40-45 UTC, when ETS 6 was in
    the area of RA 2:21 to 2:55, Dec -3.1 to -1.1.  It
    was still flashing brightly when I went inside due 
    to not being dressed for the cold and wanting to 
    identify it (although I was pretty sure I knew).
    It will be in the same area of the sky three days 
    from now.  It was just passing its perigee and was
    at a range approaching 7,000 miles (11,200 km).
    By the way, the Japanese renamed it Kiku 6 after 
    it was launched.
    Ed Cannon - Austin, Texas, USA
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