Obs of TDF-1 Feb 9/10, 2000

From: Mike McCants (mikem@fc.net)
Date: Wed Feb 09 2000 - 20:23:23 PST

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    I watched TDF-1 from my driveway (30.30N, 97.76W) for
    about 20 minutes this evening. (All times are Feb. 10 UT.)
    
    I spotted a flash as soon as I started observing.  I believe
    that the first maximum was reached about 1:49UT and
    it was declining when I spotted my first flash about 1:52.
    
    About 1:55, the second and third series started getting brighter.
    These were separated by 1/2 cycle (16.3 seconds).  I estimate
    they peaked in brightness at about magnitude 2 around 2:02.
    Then they both started to fade.  They faded down to 9th
    magnitude by about 2:08.
    
    The first faint flash of the fourth series was seen (about
    0.3 seconds before the flash of the third series) about 2:04.
    I estimate that the fourth series peaked at about magnitude 3
    about 2:09.  This series faded to 9th magnitude about 2:14.
    
    I estimate that the flashes are about 12 1/2 minutes later
    each night.
    
    The photos of TDF-1 in Caprara's book show two solar panels
    and the text says that the solar panels will have a span of
    19 meters (60 feet).  So the four series of flashes are from the
    front and back of the two solar panels.
    
    The flash period showed a decrease of 0.29 seconds in 3 days
    last night.  Tonight's period was another 0.11 seconds shorter.
    
    Desig    Date     Time       Ob  Time  Unc Cyc  Per   Comments
    88- 98 A 00-02-10 02:08      MM  554.2 0.3  17 32.60  flash to +2
    
    Mike McCants
    
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