rapr unidentified May 06 Pittsburgh

From: Robert Preston <rapr_at_med.pitt.edu>
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 1995 13:32:08 -0400
>Robert Preston wrote in a mail about a daytime telescopic observation
>on May 06 19:50 +-2 UT.
>The object was only a few magnitudes fainter than Venus, suddenly
>dropped another magnitude, and appeared to split in two, and was
>reddish in color. It moved down toward the east (+-30 degrees)
>A routine match to el950507.Z revealed only the 0.07 m2 RCS
>Diamant fragment  67014  C
>1 02684U 67014  C 95123.05863725  .00000349  00000-0  16330-3 0  3125
>2 02684  39.9719   6.2430 0636920  57.0236 309.0107 13.57490240368343
>as a candidate, though it was about 5 minutes later than observed.
>It is possible that a flat surface reflection caused the brightness,
>but not very probable. The Diamant rocket was an hour earlier, and the
>other two objects' orbital planes were too far away.

Bjorn, et al., somehow I missed the above message until today.  I plugged the
fragment C tle into SkyChart2000 and looked at the path, to see if it was
reasonable, from what I remember.  Incredibly, the fragment C path passes
within 3 arcminutes of Mars from the location of Pittsburgh, well within the
field-of-view of the eyepiece in use at the time.  I remember that,  near the
time of the observation, the person with the 10" telescope had been trying to
find Mars using his setting circles for guidance.  I will contact him to see
if he remembers whether or not he was looking at Mars at the time the
unidentified object appeared.  The trajectory does fit, in general, with what
I remember seeing, but I have no clue why the fragment would seem to split into
two, unless there are two fragments in formation, and one red and tumbling.
Remember, too, this was observed in a ten-inch (i.e., pretty large) reflecting
telescope, so the view may be strange to compare to binocular or visual
observations.  It was broad daylight, and the satellite was invisible except
in the telescope.  The prediction here is that, if another observation of
this fragment were made, telescopically, perhaps it would appear as a double
again, if indeed this is the object that we saw that day.

Thanks very much for trying to ID it.  Sorry to have missed your reply until
so late.

Robert A. Preston
Pittsburgh, PA
Received on Fri Jun 09 1995 - 13:54:02 UTC

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