unid: bright flashing geosynch

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Wed Jun 01 2005 - 03:38:13 EDT

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "Re: unid: bright flashing geosynch"

    I hope someone somewhere else can see this object, as 
    our weather does not look promising for the next few 
    evenings.  The brightest flashes probably were at least 
    +3.0, very easy to see with 8x binoculars.  The pattern 
    was asymmetrical, with flashes at about 40.50 and 38.00 
    seconds, or vice versa.
    
    Monday evening I saw this one flash at about 3:11:32 
    while I was tracking OAO 3 (72-065A, 06153, a.k.a. 
    Copernicus), which was at about 14:57, -0.9 (2000) at 
    that time.  I saw two more flashes, and then when I 
    checked my stopwatch to see the time between flashes, 
    I got disoriented and could not find the place again.  
    Tuesday evening, the weather permitted, and following 
    the Mike McCants principle of looking to see if an 
    object will be there 24 hours later, I found it again!  
    Here are *approximate* positional data (epoch 2000):
    
    2005/06/01 03:02:44 RA 14:44, Dec -2.9
    2005/06/01 03:12:35 RA 14:54, Dec -2.9
    
    I got the complete elsets file from Space-Track and ran 
    Findsat and did not get a good match.  The position 
    above was several minutes of RA west and a little south 
    of Galaxy 1 (83-065A, 14158), and there was an SL-12 Rk2 
    (91-046D, 21536) also very nearby.  Those two were both 
    a little too far east and also would not be expected to 
    flash so brightly, I believe.
    
    Although I lost the place Monday evening, I believe that 
    the object did not drift very much from one night to the 
    next.  Also, it was flashing at close to the same time.
    
    I wonder if it might possibly be unknown 90007 (discovered 
    in June 2000), but we don't have current elements for that 
    one, which oscillates back and forth over this hemisphere
    and of course is normally much much fainter.
    
    The observing site was BCRC, 30.315N, 97.866W, 280m.
    
    Here are the (very surprisingly consistent) flash timings 
    from June 1:
    
    -----, 40.38 seconds (slightly late first click), 
    37.98, 40.50, 
    38.00, 40.55, 
    38.10, 40.50, 
    38.09, 40.50, 
    38.14, 40.50, 
    78.60, 
    78.60
    
    I don't know when it began flashing.  It was getting very 
    faint at the end of the above timings, when I decided to 
    switch to USA 129.
    
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
    
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