Gorizont 17 is flashing

Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@cpmx.saic.com)
Thu, 7 Jan 1999 11:52:32 -0800

Hi All,

Wednesday night, Jan 6, I decided to try looking for Mike
McCants' latest GEO flasher, pseudo-number 99001.  I knew
the flashes weren't particularly bright, and my skies were
a bit hazy, but I thought with luck I'd catch some of the
brighter flashes through my 8 x 56's.

Within seconds of setting up, I caught a bright, slow flash
(magnitude ~4) a few degrees west of the expected position
and triggered my stop watch.  I stared at the spot, counting
in my head.  When I reached 22 seconds and still hadn't
seen a second flash, I realized I hadn't found Mike's GEO,
but something else.  So I continued counting.  I remembered
that Gorizont 14 had a period of about 90 seconds, and that
its flashes were also slow and bright.  Sure enough, about
85 seconds into my count I caught a second flash like the
first.  I glanced at the stop watch lap time:  83.42 seconds.
Hmmm, probably Gorizont 14.  Just spinning a little faster
since the last time I saw it.

I continued timing it for a little under half an hour, and
then went inside to reduce the numbers.  Period came out to
83.418 +- .010 seconds.

Well, I ran SkyMap with Gorizont 14, and it wasn't a match.
Time for an All-Satellite search.  My Pentium chugged along
for about 30 seconds, and out popped my satellite.  I was
close:  Gorizont 17 (#19765).

For those in California (and probably Arizona and New Mexico,
and maybe even Texas), you might give it a try tonite.  It
was already flashing brightly at 8:19pm PST (4:19 UT), and
had not diminished any by 9:10pm (when fog rolled in).

Here is my report for last night in PPAS format:

Gorizont 17, #19765
89-004A 99-01-07 05:09:27.5  RM 1584.94 0.2 19 83.418  mag +4 --> inv

Cheers, Rob