Re: Shijian 4 Long March 3A GTO observed

From: Michael McCants (
Date: Thu Jan 04 2001 - 15:59:35 PST

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    Rob Matson wrote:
    >A search through ALLDAT quickly revealed the culprit:
    >Shijian 4 Long March 3A, 94-010C, #22997
    >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!
    Yes, I have 11 obs of 22997, 94 10C in my files.
    I noted a period of 11 seconds in 1996 increasing to 20 seconds in May, 1997
    and then decreasing to 9.5 seconds in July, 1997.  My last record is
    a period of 13.8 seconds in October, 1999.  Does the tumble period
    change because the air drag is affecting it?
    >magnitude (90-degree phase, 1000-km) is an amazing +2.2!
    Yes, this matches the intrinsic magnitude that I have assigned to it.
    Now the question is: is the new Long March 3A really brighter that this?
    Ron Lee wrote in a post yesterday:
    >Subject: Beidou 1B LM-3A rkt obs & period, 3 Jan 2001
    >Magnitude about 6.5 at a range of 5900 km.  Standard mag = 3
    >Is this standard magnitude brighter than usual for a typical upper
    >stage rocket?
    I wrote Ron back that I thought the answer was "yes", but now I'm not
    so sure.  It (26644, 00 82B) sure was bright when I watched it last
    week.  But perhaps it was at a smaller range than usual.  Only
    4000 miles.  So perhaps these two are comparable.  How do you compensate
    for the phase angle for a cylinder that might have greater specular
    reflection than its diffuse reflection?
    Yes, there are a lot of interesting objects up there above 4000 miles.
    See Jason Hatton's description of the Long March:
    He says the LM-3A is 8.8 meters long and 3 meters in diameter.
    Mike McCants
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