Unknown object in GTO

From: Mike McCants (mmccants@io.com)
Date: Sun Jan 22 2006 - 16:16:18 EST

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    On the night of Jan. 20/21, 2006, a little after 0 hours UT,
    Peter Birtwhistle (Great Shefford Observatiory, UK)
    observed an unknown object for about 90 minutes.
    
    He then ran Bill Gray's FindOrb program with these observations
    to determine the orbit and found that the object was in an eccentric
    orbit with an inclination of 26 degrees and an orbital period
    of about 10.5 hours (mean motion 2.28 revs/day).
    
    He subsequently observed this object the following evening
    (Jan. 21 about 19 hours UT).
    
    (The above information was forwarded to me by Tony Beresford.)
    
    His observations determine the orbit to be:
    
    Unknown 060121
    1 99001U 06521A   06021.66230520  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    09
    2 99001  25.7544 309.7110 7206807 334.1402  25.4852  2.28275302    03
    
    The perigee is over 400 Km, so I do not believe that the drag
    term will be significant.
    
    Highfly predictions for the times of his observations:
    
      ***  2006 Jan 21  Sat morning  *** Times are UT ***
    
     MAG HRS MIN ALT AZI    HGT  RANGE    R  A    DEC
     12.0  0  20  39 195  21495  22785   7 27.8   1.1 (miles)
     12.0  0  40  37 198  20995  22376   7 37.2   -.4
     12.0  1   0  35 201  20338  21821   7 46.9  -2.0
     12.0  1  20  32 203  19518  21114   7 57.3  -3.8
     11.9  1  40  30 205  18525  20245   8  8.4  -5.8
     11.9  1  50  29 206  17960  19747   8 14.4  -6.9
    
      ***  2006 Jan 21  Sat evening  *** Times are UT ***
    
     MAG HRS MIN ALT AZI    HGT  RANGE    R  A    DEC
     12.2 19  10  28 114  21072  22905   6 44.5   8.3
     12.2 19  15  29 115  21206  23032   6 47.0   8.1
    
    He reported a (CCD) magnitude of 12.  The above magnitudes used
    Highfly intrinsic magnitude 4.  Normally a Centaur would have a visual
    intrinsic magnitude of about 2 or 3.  So it is possible that the
    object could be brighter than these predictions when seen visually.
    
    Mike McCants
    
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