Re: Landsat 4 Bright Pass

Jason Hatton (
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 09:53:47 +0000

Don Gardner wrote:
>Tonight Landsat  4 went to a -1 to -2 for about 10-15 seconds at
>18:47:00-18:47:15 EST (23:47:00-23:47:00).  It did a pretty fair >imitation of the Mir for a few seconds.

I had a similar observation whilst I was waiting for a pass of EGP. At
19:49:45 CET (18:49:45 UT) I noticed a bright white object moving slowly
a little northwest of Betelgeuse. It flared up to Mag 0 to -1 for about
15 seconds before fading over a period of 5-10 seconds to Mag. +3 to +4
as I followed in binoculars. Az=1450 and Alt= 450 approx. The path of
Landsat 4 matched perfectly with what I observed.  

What could be causing the flare? - my guess is the single large solar
array, but some surfaces on the satellite body are flat & may act as
good reflectors. 

We've had very clear skies for over a week now, so I've been able to
observe Mir & Progress at almost every favourable pass. Also been
observing EGP & Tips, although Tips is proving tricky often being
visible only  for a few seconds & then fading to invisibility. Does
anybody have any "tips" on what are the best lighting conditions to
observe the tether clearly?

Best Wishes & clear skies,

Jason P Hatton
ETS Strasbourg
67065 Strasbourg Cedex