re: Iridium flare and flasher observed, TiPS

Walter Nissen (
Thu, 18 Jun 1998 18:08:54 -0400 (EDT) (Frank Reed) writes: 
> With 10x50 binoculars I sighted 24871 (Iridium 18 aka 20) blinking at about 
> mag 5 as it rose in the North near Gam Cep.  It appeared rather steady at 
> about mag 5 for about 2/3 second, then disappeared for about 1/3 second, 
> repeating this pattern for more than a minute, then the phase appeared to 
> shift, and the blinking resumed much the same as before. 
By phase shift, do you mean what Bart and I have referred to as a "synodic 
anomaly"?  I.e., an interval which is different in length, surrounded on 
both sides by many intervals, all of essentially the same duration. 
It is interesting to read confirmation that TiPS is not so prominent as it 
once was.  It has long been faint enough to be one of the few satellites 
which causes me to abandon my 7x35s for something stronger.  But for a 
long time now, even in 11x80s, it has been difficult.  Most recently, I 
recorded it at mag 7 or 8 on 19980608.  It was not so impressive as 
the object it used to be. 
Arithmetical stupidity:  seeing a "6" in an epoch date (in the January 
date format; by the way, the January date is often mistakenly referred to 
as the Julian date) and a "6" in a UTC date and believing them to refer to 
the same date.  As a result, I provided the wrong elset from OIG.  Here is 
the more appropriate one, if anyone actually cares: 
1 24871U 97034C   98167.16233638 +.00000230 +00000-0 +74637-4 0 01884 
2 24871 086.3997 042.1339 0015178 065.2708 295.0070 14.34526308049088 
Walter Nissen          
-81.8637, 41.3735, 256m elevation 
Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.   Lord Acton