Flaring geosat season

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Mon Feb 24 2003 - 05:31:31 EST

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    Below are approximate peak dates for the February-March 
    flaring geosat season:  
    latitude  optimum date
     +80        27/Feb
     +60        01/Mar
     +40        06/Mar
     +20        13/Mar
       0        20/Mar (vernal equinox)
     -20        28/Mar
     -40        03/Apr
     -60        08/Apr
     -80        11/Apr
    For newcomers, note that this is "flaring" not "flashing".
    This is when operational geostationary satellites may 
    flare much brighter (up to maybe nine magnitudes in a 
    few rare cases) than normal, due to special geometry.  
    During maybe two or three weeks around the peak time for 
    your latitude, a number of them may be seen with 
    binoculars, and maybe two or three or four without 
    The other day Stardial was mentioned; they have small 
    movies of flaring geosats before and after eclipse:
    See more details about the phenomenon and a couple of 
    links in this message:
    Last night (early Feb. 24 UTC) Mike and I saw Orion 3 
    (99-024A, 25727) do a few very bright flashes, one about 
    -1.5 (Sirius).  This was on its second pass of the 
    evening; it was not looked for on the first pass. The 
    flashes were as it was approaching shadow entry.
    NOSS 2-1 trio have been very faint the last two nights,
    so maybe the bright southbound passes are not in winter.
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
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