Identification Problem

From: Rod Austin (
Date: Wed Jan 12 2005 - 21:29:35 EST

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    Good afternoon everyone,
    	I am just new to the list. My main interest is comet-hunting,
    but in the process of my observations I often come across satellites
    which appear unusual (to me), either for variations or absolute
    brightness. I am checked into Heavens Above and make most
    identifications without problem. Occasionally, as happened this morning,
    I am unable to identify the object.
    Observing site: Huirangi Cemetery, Taranaki, New Zealand.  Lat -39.05,
    Long 174.27 East
    Time: 0335 am New Zealand Daylight Saving = 14:35 UT 12 January
    Very bright satellite (approx mag -3) passed between Alpha and Beta
    Centauri moving NNW. Altitude approximately 35 degrees, in the South
    Rate of motion approx 1 degree in about 4 seconds.
    It had all the hallmarks of an Iridium flare. It was starting to fade
    when I first noticed it. Faded rapidly to about 3rd magnitude and stayed
    at that brightness for a further minute at least before dropping rapidly
    from sight.
    Heavens Above gave no prediction for this object either in the Iridium
    flares list or in the general satellite list. If anyone can help with
    identifying this object I would be grateful. More a matter of personal
    Rodney Austin
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