Bright SuitSat Pass

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (grd.holtkamp@t-online.de)
Date: Sat Feb 11 2006 - 15:06:48 EST

  • Next message: Ralph McConahy: "Re: Bright SuitSat Pass"

    Got up early this morning to take a quick look at SuitSat passing 1 deg South 
    of Arcturus (at an elevation of 54 deg) using 15x80 binoculars. It appeared 
    brighter than expected (my estimate is about mag 4). This may be due to the 
    favorable phase angle at the time and probably a lucky attitude. The pass 
    occurred very close to the predicted 5:43:43 UT (I pressed the Reset button 
    on my stopwatch before copying the recorded times - I had been out of bed for 
    just a few minutes, sorry). 
    
    I didn't follow SuitSat long enough to see any variations in brightness as a 
    second weaker (mag 8) satellite appeared almost simultaneously. As the former 
    SeeSat-L reports about SuitSat mentioned a magnitude between 6 and 8 I rather 
    followed the second satellite until I realized it was moving South to North - 
    incompatible with SuitSat. The ISS pass 2:40 min later followed the path of 
    the first (brighter) satellite which had thus been SuitSat. I find it 
    interesting that - given a favorable illumination - a free floating astronaut 
    some 430 km away in space could be seen by an observer on Earth with the 
    naked eye!
    
    I have only a limited set of orbit elements and was unable to identify the 
    second satellite. Would anybody be able to identify it? (R.A. 14h18m, 
    Decl.18d11m, 5:43:45 UT, moving in a northerly direction; Lat.49.8822, 
    Long.8.6558, alt.135m).
    
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
    
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