Flares, Flashers and Retrograde Orbits

Mir16609 (Mir16609@aol.com)
Thu, 12 Mar 1998 21:28:40 EST

The Flare:
OK, maybe it wasn't a daytime flare but the Sun elevation was only -3 deg.
Only the moon and Sirius were visible to the unaided eye.  Iridium 20 flared
to a predicted -6 mag for about 3-4 seconds at 18:25:50 EST (23:25:50 UT)
about 58 deg el, 3 deg azi.  

The Flashers:
Has anyone else noticed a change in the pattern of Titan IV r/b 25018
(97064B)?  In January it was flashing from about a 2 mag to a 6 mag at about a
15 second period.  Today it seemed to vary between a +2 and +3 mag.  It was
visible at 1x from just above Cassiopeia past the alpha and beta Gemini until
it reached about a 25 deg elevation.  If it was flashing it was very gradual.
The pass was from 18:59 - 19:03 EST (23:59-00:04 UT).

Cosmos 2333r (24298, 96064B) seemed to be flashing at about a 5-6 second
period from +3 to inv.  I can remember this as being a 2 secong period.
Tonight's observation was at 20:20 EST (01:20 UT) just under the Pleiades.  

The Retrograde:
Thanks to Craig Cholar for the heads-up on Ofeq 3.   There are some good
passes over the next few days.  Using the posted elset:
OFEQ 3                                           530 x 347
1 23549U 95018A   98070.25609858  .00084121  00000-0  13101-2 0  8367
2 23549 143.3566 178.4859 0134501 139.0920 222.0029 15.42526972162912
it seemed to pass just under Procyon about 10 seconds earlier than the
predicted 19:27 EST (00:27 UT).    It was easily a +4.0 mag - very easy to
acquire with 10x50s.   Strange to see a pass in the southern sky traveling
left to right.

Don Gardner
Homepage: http://members.aol.com/mir16609/
76.8419 W, 39.1796 N,  34m ASL