Superbird A flashes observed from Austin, Texas

Mike McCants (
Sun, 16 Feb 1997 15:25:47 -0600 (CST)

Superbird A flashes were observed from Austin, Texas by Mike McCants,
Ed Cannon, and Sue Worden.  The first flashes were observed about
9:43CST Feb. 15 (= 3:43UT Feb. 16).  However, it had been over 30
minutes sice I last checked the proper position and the flashes were
very bright when first observed.  So it is likely that this time
is some time in the middle of the span of flash time period.

Flashes were estimated to be approximately 4th magnitude, but
they are of such a brief duration that a magnitude estimate
is only a guess.  Since the moon was very bright, they were not
seen with the unaided eye.

My program predicts shadow entry about 9:51CST (= 3:51UT) and about
that time the flashes started to fade.  So there is also no time
for the "ending" of the span of flash time period.

The flash period during this time was about 23.40.  There were no
flashes seen in between these flashes.  These observations were
with an 8 inch telescope fron latitude 30.3138, longitude 97.8661,
height 250 meters.

After shadow exit, Superbird A was observed with the Austin Astronomical
Society 12 1/2 inch telescope.  The magnitude seemed to be from about
11.5 or 12 for the brightest maxima to invisible (fainter than 14)
at minimum.  Maxima of different brightness were observed with periods
of 23.4, 11.7, and 5.9 seconds.  By 11:45CST (= 5:45UT) I estimated
that the primary maxima were about magnitude 12 with a period of
23.40 seconds and the secondary maxima were fainter and often not seen.

Mike McCants