Re: Landsat 4 Bright Pass
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 21:13:47 EST

In a message dated 98-02-10 20:28:19 EST, you write:

> I had a very similar observation of Landsat 4 tonight. I was waiting to

>  10" reflector. Awesome. Question: is this an Iridium flare-like phenomenon
>  from its solar panels? if so, should anyone reasonably expect to see such
>  a flare on only 10 or 20 or more viewed passes?
>  Tyler (Joe Stats) MacKenzie
>  Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
>  44.636N 63.595W 50m ASL

When I saw my first Iridium flare back in August I thought that it was from
the solar panel. There was subsequent discussion from some SeeSat'ers that
solar panels are not suppose to be highly reflective.  Given the observations
from the NEAR flyby I still believe (rightly or wrongly) that a lucky
reflection from a solar panel will produce a flare.  If the object is not in
service it would probably be impossible to predict a flare.

There was a similar pass for Landsat 4 this evening at 19:29 EST (00:29 UTC).
Between the fine high altitude clouds and the nearly full [reference to off-
topic natural satellite deleted :-)], I could not make an observation.  Only
an unexpected Cosmos 1023 r/b (10962) traveling in the opposite direction of
the expected Landsat pass made the effort interesting.

I did get to see a predicted -8 Iridium flare this evening.  Iridium 10 at
18:57:03 EST (23:57:03 UTC).  You could see where it was illumination the
clouds as it reached peak brightness.