Planet party plus some good satellites

Ed Cannon (
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 03:42:54 -0600

We had what turned out to be a pretty nice, somewhat 
impromptu planet-and-satellite viewing party here Tuesday 
evening (early 24 Feb. UTC).  Sue Worden had talked it up 
and also took an Austin Astronomical Society telescope to 
the site, Mt. Bonnell, a city park in Austin, Texas.  
Besides some AAS people and guests, there were at least a 
couple of coincidental passers-by who got involved as 

The sky was good but not perfect due to some variable
high, thin clouds.  Besides the conjunction of Venus and 
Jupiter, we saw Mercury low and Saturn high.  Then also 
the group, perhaps as many as a couple of dozen (?) 
people including children, saw a really good pass of ISS; 
Iridium 14 displaying a very nice episode of consecutive 
flashes that brightened, peaked (at approx. 1:10:30 UTC 
-- plus or minus 15 seconds as I only got rough times for 
the ends and none for the peak), and then dimmed over a 
period of more than a minute; and finally a really good 
flare (-6? -- some cloud interference) from Iridium 50.  

A few late-stayers saw a couple of flashes from Iridium 
11 and two or three more from Iridium 14's second pass of 
the evening.  There were also one-power passes of Cosmos 
2306 Rk (23502, 25-8B), Okean 1 (19274, 88-56A), and 
Cosmos 2333 Rk (24298, 96-51B).  (Before I left for Mt. 
Bonnell, I saw a good GRO pass from my apartment parking 

Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA