Shijian 4 Long March 3A GTO observed

From: Matson, Robert (
Date: Thu Jan 04 2001 - 13:35:56 PST

  • Next message: Michael McCants: "Re: Shijian 4 Long March 3A GTO observed"

    Hi All,
    While timing a geosynch flasher last night, I spotted a dim,
    high-altitude satellite moving slowly through my binocular
    field of view.  I checked my watch for two star appulses in
    the hopes of later discovering its identity.  It was slowly
    pulsating in brightness by at most one visual magnitude,
    probably somewhere between mag 6 and mag 7.  Unfortunately,
    I had no means of timing it since my stopwatch was already
    occupied with USA 39 (report coming).  I think the period
    was less than 15 seconds, though.
    A search through ALLDAT quickly revealed the culprit:
    Shijian 4 Long March 3A, 94-010C, #22997
    Using the following elset, it was 5 seconds late:
    Shijian 4 Long March 3A
    1 22997U 94010C   01003.09112912  .00170427 -97414-7  23302-2 0  9897
    2 22997  27.5769 242.3988 5763131  52.7748 347.1025  4.51057247 80726
    I acquired it with 8 x 56 binoculars at a range of 7200 km.
    Assigning a magnitude of +6.5 to the obs, the standard
    magnitude (90-degree phase, 1000-km) is an amazing +2.2!
    I have an even better pass tonite (predicted mag +5.2 using
    new standard magnitude), so I will attempt to time the
    oscillation period.  Ed and Mike:  this same pass is
    also good for your location tonite starting after
    8:30pm CST.  You should be able to follow it for over
    an hour.  --Rob
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jan 04 2001 - 13:41:07 PST