Accidental observation of distant object

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Wed Jul 24 2002 - 05:33:39 EDT

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    I was looking for an LEO in the SSW, and I saw some faint 
    flashes (+7.0 at best?) from a very slow moving object 
    going west to east.  Fortunately it was in a location 
    easy for me to determine, and Findsat identified it as 
    Telstar 402 (94-058A, 23249).  Its range was about 12,800 
    km when I saw it!  I'm not sure it was as bright as +7.
    Here is a PPAS report:
    
    94- 58 A 02-07-24 03:10:28.6 EC  114.9 0.3  37  3.10  +7.0->inv
    
    More Intelsat 512 (85-087A, 16101); brightest maybe +4.5.
    (Pretty good observing time for west coast of North 
    America; sorry about the moonlight.)  Just listing times
    of observations in hopes that someone somewhere else will
    observe it also!  (Björn needs more data!)
    
    2002/07/22 6:24:07.4 to 6:29:37.3
    2002/07/23 6:36:23.0 to 6:41:52.1
    2002/07/24 6:48:36.2 to 6:54:04.8
    
    After missing TDF 2 (90-063A, 20705) for two nights, I 
    managed to see a few flashes, 5:16:34.6 to 5:17:59.8 
    (today, July 24).  So the episode ended about 39 
    minutes later than three nights ago.  The first flash 
    I saw (with my 10x50s) was at least +5.0.
    
    Meteor 3M-1 Rk (01-056F, 27006) is very interesting to 
    watch (from here at 30 north, at least) when it's in 
    the east, going south (evening passes). 
    
    NOSS 2-1 triplets were visible without binoculars -- a 
    southbound evening pass.  I'm hoping for some passes 
    without moonlight.  The outlier was the brightest.  
    They made my one-power total 19 objects for the evening!  
    (And the first hour there was scattered cirrus.)
    
    IRS P2 (94-068A, 23323) has done at least one negative
    magnitude flash on almost every pass recently, but it's
    not very bright otherwise.
    
    USA 81 (92-023A, 21949) did a very nice pass last night
    -- more brightish flashes than usual, plus a nice +2 
    sparkling episode.
    
    Several of the Earth-observing satellites in sun-synch
    orbits (e.g., Envisat, SPOT 5, Landsat 7, CBERS 1) have 
    been very bright recently when their passes have been 
    in the vicinity of Ursa Major.  Some other payloads 
    (e.g., MSX, Okean-O, Meteor 1-31) have been very bright 
    as they have risen in the south to southeast.
    
    Summer observing -- so many satellites, so little sleep.
    
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
    
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