Re: UNID in France

Bruno Tilgner (
Tue, 3 Jun 1997 19:13:21 -0400

Alphonse Pouplier wrote:

"On 05-30-1997 at 22:05 UT several (over 20 in different places) observer=
s of
the region of Bordeaux Lat. +44d50m Lon. near zero
saw a satellite near the zenith MOVING FROM EAST TO WEST
3 sec VERY BRIGHT flash then 7 sec not visible and so on.
They say that during the flashes it was MUCH BRIGHTER than MIR.
What could it be?"

To which Rob Matson replied

"I could find no zenith matches.  Best I could come up with was OV 1-5 (N=
#2122) which made an east-to-west pass in the south at that time.  Possib=
new launch?  --Rob"

Another object which moved from northeast to southwest and reached
an elevation of 85 degrees at 22:05 UT on 30 May 97, i.e. fits the
observation very well, is Explorer 38 (68055A). However, it is a
slow-moving object and its distance near the zenith was 5 845 km.

This large distance pretty much rules it out. However, it was a radio
astronomy satellite. The RAE Table of Earth Satellites lists it as
a tubular cross of 190 kg mass, and the column "Size" has the entry
"Arms of cross 229 m". This sounds hardly credible, but if it were
true, the good match of the observation with the analysis could be
more than a coincidence.

Bruno Tilgner