Re: Iridium 24871 tumbling; plus other Iridium obs

Terry Pundiak (
Sun, 07 Jun 1998 10:10:55 -0500

Ed Cannon wrote:
> Saturday evening (about 4:36 Sunday 7 June UTC), Mike McCants and I
> observed an Iridium, #24871, very obviously tumbling rapidly, about
> mag. +5.5.  It was easy to see using Mike's finder scope.  However,
> my recollection is that neither of us saw any bright flashes from
> it; these were just ordinary maxima.
> I'm not 100% sure what its correct ID or common name are.  Below are
> some elsets for comparison.  It's definitely the one with slightly
> higher mean motion (and lower orbital altitude).  Alan Pickup and
> Mike agree below that it's Iridium 20, 97-34C; OIG is still calling
> it 18.
> Ed Cannon
> Austin, Texas, USA

This Iridium #24871 passed over my place last night (6/7/98 2:54 UTC)
almost at zenith, when it flashed 4 or 5 times at -1 or so rapidly, very
much faster than 1/sec. I picked it up with binocs and it continued to
flash rapidly at a low magnitude (5?)  As I recall and sorry I didn't
use a watch - it flashed (at a low magnitude ) at a much faster rate
than when I saw it a night or two ago.  but my question is...   Since
the bright moon was not far away - could these dim flashes be from the
moon's light?

Terry Pundiak, M.D.
Easton, PA
lat 40.693389 N, long 75.26615 W