RE: Two bright satellites

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@rogers.com)
Date: Fri Jun 04 2004 - 08:34:19 EDT

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    J. Thomas Jeffrey wrote:
    
    > I had just seen my first satellite with my new 20X90 
    > binoculars (Cosmos 1726 passing through Lyra) on 
    > June 4 at 0605 UT. I followed the satellite for about
    > 60 seconds.
    > 
    > I then turned and looked south and just north of the
    > star Spica I was shocked to see two very bright objects
    > very close together heading north. They were both very
    > bright (I would estimate magnitude -4). I had apparently
    > caught them when they were both undergoing a flare. Within
    > a minute they were no longer visible to the naked eye. I
    > followed them with my binoculars. Both of them were visible
    > within the same field of view about 3 degrees apart. One
    > object appeared to orangish in color (like Gravity Probe B).
    
    I agree with Ed Cannon, that the NOSS objects 03054A and C (28095 and 28097) are
    good candidates, but there is one significant discrepancy: their path never
    placed them just north of Spica. 
    
    Assuming your site was Bend, Oregon, Cosmos 1726 passed a fraction of a degree
    below Vega at 06:05:01 UTC. If you followed it to eclipse at about 06:06:14 UTC,
    that would agree with your report of having followed it for about 60 s.
    
    If you turned toward the south several seconds later, then 03054A and C were
    roughly one deg above Gamma Virginis, a mag 3.5 star. In reconstructing events,
    could you have mistakenly chosen it over Spica?
    
    NOSS satellites certainly have been known to flare brilliantly; there are links
    to reports by Sue Wheatley and Ed Cannon on the NOSS page:
    
    http://www.satobs.org/noss.html#NOSS3
    
    Ted Molczan
    
    
    
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