NOSS 2-3 observation...05:38 UT June 13/96

Bill Krosney (bkrosney@MBnet.MB.CA)
Thu, 13 Jun 1996 12:58:33 -0500 (CDT)

Had a good 63 degree culmination pass of the new NOSS cluster last night.

Was rushing home and knew I wouldn't make it in time to catch the pass.  So
with my WWV receiver turned on and the antenna sticking out the car window,
I rushed to find as dark and deserted site as I could find.  Turned off on
a gravel road near a housing development near the edge of town.

I acquired a triad of objects at about 05:38 UT (June 13/96) with the objects
about 30-35 degrees above the western horizon.  They were faint, less than
6th mag.  They looked very much like other NOSS clusters I have observed,
except they were somewhat fainter and the triangle was "tighter" (maybe a
closer satellite to satellite distance or just a farther range?).  They
easily fit with the center of view of my 10x50 binoculars. 

The trailing member of the triad looked a little brighter, maybe 1/2 a 
mag., although they seemed to equal out as they climbed higher in the sky.
Quicksat gave a phase angle of 90 degrees at acquisition until 110 degrees
when they were lost at about 05:45.  They all did brighten gradually though
as they climbed and then faded as they passed.  Probably the range distance
more than anything?

I could not detect any fluctuations in brightness, although it would of been
difficult with my limited dark adaption and observing site as they were faint
in the binoculars.  But definitely no large amplitude variations in 
brightness, essentially they were constant.

No evidence of a 4th member.

They were finally lost in the NE at about 05:45 when a curious passing
motorist zapped me with the high beams of their car!

This was my first chance to actually watch a NOSS cluster traverse a good
chunk of the sky.  The change in the shape of the triangle as it crossed
the sky (due to perspective I guess) was fascinating.

x      x         at acquisition

x       x
    x            near culmination

x      x
   x              when I lost it

Great stuff!

To all the SeeSat subscribers who have followed the launch and deployment
of this apparent new NOSS cluster with their elements, comments and 
observations I say thanks.  It has been a fascinating experience.

Can we expect anything else to happen with this cluster?

Clear skies....Bill

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