Re: Pinpoint flashes

Rob Matson (Rob_Matson@cpqm.mail.saic.com)
17 Jul 1996 14:07:49 -0800

Jim,

I tracked down your "tag-along" satellite with MOS-1 last night (7/16).  It
was Feng Yun 1-2 R/B deb K (Norad #20847).  Parallel track, a few degrees
west, same velocity, same time.  Used a database of about 4200 objects to
locate it (Allen Thompson's latest set)...  --Rob
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I too was out observing MOS 1 last night and saw something I have never seen
before.   During its pass over my yard (39N, 77W; mid-pass occurring
approximately 10:28:30 p.m. EDT, 7/16) I noticed MOS 1 had brought along a
friend.  During its entire pass, there was a second satellite no more than two
or three degrees to its west (both satellites easily fitting in the same
binocular field), on an almost precisely parallel path, matching MOS 1's speed
exactly (this second unidentified satellite may have won by a nose at the
end).  It was much like watching a NOSS triangle, with one bird missing.  This
second satellite was like a shadow, being, oh, two magnitudes or so
fainter than MOS 1 (I could not see it naked-eye, though sky conditions were
not great last night).   It also evidenced a similar glinting pattern to MOS
1's, though once again these were proportionally dimmer.   I'm curious if
anyone else saw these two pass last night as well?  

I checked to try to identify the second satellite using the Skychart 2000
planetarium program and displaying the satellites in Ted Molczan's 6/27
element list, but found nothing coming anywhere close MOS 1's vicinity at the
time.   Could I ask you, Jim, with your 1300+  satellite list (or anyone else
wishing to help out for that matter) to see if you can ID this second bird for
me?  (Thanks  - it's appreciated ;-)

- Jim Cook (CmdrJaycee@aol.com)