bright tumbler, vulgar rockets, standard format

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Sun, 8 Feb 1998 09:43:09 -0500 (EST)

Those lamenting the lengthening of the periods of the bright Zenit-2 
rockets, still seeking easy targets, might look in on Lac 3 r.  It has a 
moderate period, making it hard to see for a few seconds, and is fairly 
bright for a few seconds.  Measurements of the period would be welcomed 
for the PPAS database and would allow you to follow the evolution of the 
period as eddy currents damp the rotational inertia.  Lac 3 herself is 
steadier, but may show some variation.  What do you see? 
These elsets are courtesy Mike McCants, from 
Lacrosse 3 
1 25017U 97064A   98035.19043974  .00000110  00000-0  19827-4 0    09 
2 25017  57.0090 122.2897 0007000 142.5921 217.4079 14.66196472    06 
Lacrosse 3 r 
1 25018U 97064B   98036.21149306 +.00000922 +00000-0 +60980-4 0 00423 
2 25018 057.0136 092.7999 0173095 355.8211 004.1340 15.06463400010085 
They are presently making morning passes at this latitude, but as we enter 
one of the 2 "seasons" of the year when the same objects can be seen both 
morning and evening, they soon will be visible in the evening as well. 
One advantage of the mornings now, with Venus in the sky, is that it is 
possible to make more accurate estimates of the extreme brightness of 
Iridium glints. 
When I first noticed Mike McCants' abbreviation of vulgar names such as 
"Cosmos 1635-1642 r" as "Cosmos 1635 r", I didn't like it.  Of course, I 
don't like much about vulgar names and their terrible variation.  But with 
time, I have grown to like such abbreviations.  They are very specific and 
relatively short.  Not short enough for me.  I like "C* 1635 r" and much 
approve Jay Respler's "C1635 r". 
Recently we have seen a proliferation of names for rockets which I like 
much less.  Calling an object "Delta r" is pretty pathetic.  For the 
Iridium launch vehicles, I would suggest, e.g., 
Irdm 8 r 
1 24797U 97020F   98036.07894622 +.00000216 +00000-0 +45970-4 0 00844 
2 24797 086.8938 049.7764 0250986 025.1246 336.1917 14.35879699039520 
Unless such vulgar names contain the name of the A object (or another), 
they are ambiguous.  That is very annoying. 
Ed Cannon's suggestion to number the launches has merit.  But I would 
prefer using the A object to provide specificity in the vulgar name.  An 
occasional post giving launch history would be informative and more 
complete than just scanning the most recent molczan.tle. 
I find the RGO format somewhat annoying because it uses CC80, meaning I 
often see it on my screen as double spaced.  I would much welcome input 
from users of positional OBS as to the desirability and importance of any 
specific format. 
Walter Nissen          
-81.8637, 41.3735, 256m elevation 
not a member of any A-mateur astronomical community 
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety 
deserve neither liberty nor safety.   Benjamin Franklin, 1759