All 4 ASTRA's seen

Kurt Jonckheere (kjonckheere@unicall.be)
Tue, 16 Jan 96 19:10:50 +0000 (GMT)

Hello,

last weekend we (= our local Astronomy club) had an small observation
camp in a less light polluted area of Belgium.

We saw different satellites (92-36B, 95-58B and others).

As I read that some months ago a new ASTRA satellite was launched towards
the geostationary belt, I predicted the position of one of them.
Now they are four in total.
[remember the photograph of the three, a year ago in Flash]

And yes, although the quarter moon was already rising I pointed the
C8 of Kurt Dequick towards the predicted RA and DEC at 0h30 on 13
January 1996.  I did this at 0h25.  When I had found the right place
in RA and DEC (with the Uranometria star atlas), I just had to follow
the start until 0h30m UT and then stop the telescope.
I think this is the easiest way to observe such satellites.

When I stopped following the stars I immediately noticed themf all four:
ASTRA 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D !

                                S


                        1 *


                        2 *



                              *      *
                                
                              3      4   
                                N  

They were all easily visible in one eyepiece in the above indicated way
(a L-shape).  I guess they were within 5 arcminutes!
Objects 1 and 3 were the brightest, about mag +11 a +11.5, object 4 about
mag +12 and object 2 was the faintest.

Greetings,

Kurt Jonckheere (kjonckheere@unicall.be)