Re: Help needed again from meteorland

Alan Pickup (
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 21:30:11 +0000

In message <vines.G5i8+SSN@?>, Wayne T Hally <wayne.t.hally@bangate.tek.
com> writes
>       Once again I beg your help on the event described below. This was the 
>entire extent of what I've found regarding a "meteor shower" which 
>allegedly hit only Northern California Sunday evening, March 8th. Not too 
>many specifics are given, but I assume this would be between 1800 and 2000 
>PST (0200-0400 UT on the 9th). This does not sound like meteors at all, 
>rather it seems like a possible decaying satellite or rocket...or maybe a 
>phalanx of irritated fireflies ...that is why I come to you again, hat in 
>hand, pleading for assistance.
>Was there any object expected or known to deorbit in this approximate time 
>and place?

I can find no decaying object to fit the bill. With one uncertain
exception (see below) I know of no re-entries since that of the STEP-2
Pegasus debris object #24078 (= 94- 29 DZ) at about March 7.4.

The exception is the Molniya 1-73 r2 #19380 (= 88- 69 D) for which no
new elsets have appeared since this ten-day-old one:
Molniya 1-73 r2                                  39430 x 35 km
1 19380U 88069D   98059.82491480  .01418581 -20442-4  28206-5 0  9739
2 19380  63.7756 357.1588 7543677 245.9595  22.6562  2.05789893 46545
The perigee is certainly wrong - it was probably closer to 105 km at
this epoch. My calculations suggest, however, that the perigee is being
forced down by lunisolar effects at about 1 km per day. USSPACECOM
appear to have lost it for the moment though I expect that they will
find it again before it re-enters - my current SatEvo decay list
predicts this for "March 19?". It is not impossible that this has
decayed already, though this is unlikely in my opinion. I think its
orbital plane would have been over the USA between 02:00 and 04:00 UTC
on the 9th, though possibly too far to the north and east to give a re-
entry visible from N California. It is impossible to say where around
its orbit it would have been between these times, but if it was decaying
along the USA arc of its orbit it would have been moving south-

 Alan Pickup | COSPAR site 2707:   55d53m48.7s N   3d11m51.2s W    156m asl
 Edinburgh   | Home:       +44 (0)131 477 9144
 Scotland    | SatEvo satellite page: