Help! Yet another unknown geosync flasher

Mike McCants (mikem@freeside.fc.net)
Sun, 3 Jan 1999 16:20:48 -0600 (CST)

I have converted the Basic program by J. R. Miller to C.
This program was written by Mr. Miller to predict and
track the re-entry of Oscar 13 in 1995-1996.  It is
a "full" numerical integration program incorporating
spherical harmonics, lunar and solar perturbations,
atmospheric drag, and solar radiation pressure.

The observations of the object I have called 98002 from
July, September, and October were re-analyzed using this
program and the numerical integration carried forward
to the present.  Then I went looking for this object
under last night's full moon with my 8 inch.

I didn't find it, but I did find yet another geosync flasher
which does not match any current object in the Dec. 21 alldat
file.  This object was observed from about 2:53UT until
about 3:36UT Jan 3, 1999.

Fitelem input:

    1
   30.3138   97.8661      920.    Bee Caves Rsrch Ctr
New Unk       
1 98005U          99  2.16039213 0.00000000  00000-0  00000+0 0    09
2 98005  10.3000  42.4600 0000500 337.2000  22.8000  0.98940000    06
  1 99  1  3  2 53 51.9   1 23.5  -8.65 1950
  1 99  1  3  3 12  6.5   1 41.3  -7.80 1950
  1 99  1  3  3 23 12.0   1 52.0  -7.23 1950
  1 99  1  3  3 36 26.2   2  4.9  -6.59 1950

This object flashed to magnitude 7 or 8 when it was first seen,
but seemed to be flashing to only 9 or 10 when we stopped watching.
Flashes were seen in the 12x80 finder under the full moon for
the first 10 or 15 minutes.

The flashes were only slightly different in magnitude.

I measured the flash period as 121 cycles in 2597.2 seconds
to give a flash period of 21.464 seconds.  (Ed measured a
very similar period with his new stopwatch.)

Rarely the object tumbled to about magnitude 12 in between flashes.

Unfortunately, our weather has turned cloudy and may remain cloudy
for several days.  So I would very much like someone else to try
to look for this object.  I would hope that it will be within
30 seconds of the above elset tonight, but of course the mean
motion is rather uncertain because the object was observed for
only a 42 minute arc last night.

Mike McCants
Austin, TX