Cosmos 1077 Observation!

From: tlj18@juno.com
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 22:04:08 PDT

  • Next message: tlj18@juno.com: "Plasma Trail"

    Yes, I have just come in from observing Cosmos 1077 (~2140 EDT 6/23; 0140
    UT 6/24) !  It was about 30 seconds early (I forgot to use my stopwatch)
    , using the following predicted elset from Alan:
    
    Cosmos 1077      5.0  1.5  0.0  5.4 v   13       216 x 204 km
    1 11268U 79012A   00176.00030553  .01945180  18363-2  78284-3 0 96266
    2 11268  81.1603 214.7184 0009145 226.2864 133.6378 16.23449669176099
    
    The predicted elset was made about 12 hours in advance.  So, good job for
    the predictor!  The is an altitude record for me!  At the time, it was
    about 208 km in altitude at the time of the pass.  My previous low
    altitude record was about 250 kilometers, an observation of Mir, when its
    future was uncertain.  
    
    It was noticeably faster than any other satellite I have ever seen.  It
    was yellowish in color.  It passed at an elevation of 81 degrees, and was
    predicted at magnitude +1.6.  As it approached the zenith of its pass (a
    time of about 20-30 seconds), it was indeed at about magnitude 1, moving
    quite fast.  I was quite impressed with this sight.  I had my binoculars.
     I wasn't going to use them, since there would be no plasma trail to see
    (I have yet to see a plasma trail, either) .  But I decided to, right
    around the zenith of the pass.  Immeadiately before I lifted them to my
    eyes, the satellite flared to between 0 and -2.  This lasted for about 5
    seconds, then the satellite returned to magnitude 1.  The flaring was not
    fluid, somewhat uneven.  I scientifically deduct that the satellite is
    spinning, and sunlight hit its solar panels.  I put my binoculars up to
    my eyes - no satellite.  I looked up naked-eye, and re-acquired the
    target - it was drifting in the north sky, at magnitude 3.  I then
    followed it in binculars for about 45 seconds.
    
    A pass I would have paid money to see!  The speed and the flare really
    make this a GREAT sight.  Incredible !!!
    
    I urge everyone to try to take a look at this Russian satellite! 
    
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Jonathan T. Wojack     tlj18@juno.com    
    http://www.geocities.com/tlj18_99     39.75 N     75.55 W
    
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