Flaring geosats soon for far north

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Wed Feb 11 2004 - 00:26:59 EST

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    Last year Bram Dorreman (51 north) was observing flaring geosats 
    about ten days from now:
    Time to plan ahead -- and hope for clear weather!  Ron Welch 
    pointed out to me that this time the Moon will hamper observing 
    them from around 35 north and south latitudes.
    Richard Clark sent a message with the formula for calculating 
    the peak dates for a given latitude, but there is a fair amount 
    of leeway, as the satellites aren't kept in extremely strict 
    orientations.  We've seen them here up to at least ten days 
    before or after the predicted peak date:
    For new folks, flaring geosats (flaring geosynchs, not flashing
    but flaring) can be seen with 10x50 binoculars near the 
    equinoxes.  I hope to see about as many with my nice new 8x42.  
    A very few can be seen without binoculars!  Here's Björn Gimle's 
    page about this phenomenon:
    Europeans have the good fortune to be able to see the Astra 
    and Hotbird clusters:
    The great photo George Roberts reported the other day was the
    Astra cluster; it's worthy of repeating!
    On March 13, 2002, we did a marathon session observing them.  
    Mike McCants would find one or two or three in one FOV, then 
    move on a little farther west along the Clarke belt.  He 
    counted about 60 objects (a handful not operational payloads) 
    by the time we quit about 2:00 AM local time.  Many of the 
    flaring ones were visible in my 10x50 binoculars.  Around 101 
    degrees west longitude, there are five that can been seen in 
    one FOV (if it's large enough and they're all bright enough), 
    and they should be visible from most of North America.
    The following page has links to images of a wide section of
    the Clarke belt taken from Arizona using a very long exposure, 
    not when they were flaring:
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
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