COMETS H-2?, Cos 2228, others

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 02:54:49 -0600

Sunday morning again observed object 98-11B (25175, which I
tend to believe is the COMETS H-2 rocket, not the payload) 
tumbling and got an entirely different tumble period. Both 
Friday and Sunday it was moving directly west to east, near 
the zenith (on Z Friday, alt. 72 Sunday), so the phase was 
changing a lot.  Sunday it was a complex double-max tumble 
-- first min and max were dimmest and brightest (+4.0, +1?); 
second max was uneven.  I started my stopwatch and then 
stopped it and watched a couple of periods in order to 
figure out how to time it.  I got about 10.54 seconds for 
the complete two-max, two-min period, timed on the fainter 
of the two minima.  I hope some of the experts can time it
soon.

Friday evening at BCRC, Mike and I both saw Cosmos 2228 do
two very bright strobe-like flashes, a few seconds apart; 
the first was at least -2.  I was looking through binocs for 
the second and am not sure how it compared with the first.  

Superbird A and Gorizont 23 are both still up there!  Sunday
evening for certain and I think also Friday evening from the 
BCRC site I was able to see one of Superbird A's flashes at 
one-power.  Both are easy to see in my 10x50 binoculars, as 
long as I look in the right place!

The 97-68B Centaur (#25035, eccentric orbit but listed in 
Molczan elements) is fairly easy in binoculars. It's making 
evening southbound passes over the US for a few more days I 
think.  Mike says it's about 20 minutes earlier each evening.  
It really speeds up as it moves further towards the south!
It's flashing at just over once per second but also has more 
complex details.  Sunday evening it passed so near Superbird 
that when Mike first aimed his telescope towards Superbird, 
the Centaur was in the field!

Decaying Iridium Delta (#24970, 97-56F) made a very nice
pass over here Sunday evening.

The new Iridium launch has been delayed until Friday.

Cosmos 2347 (25088, 97-79A) made a good (+1?) pass Sunday 
morning.

The newsgroup via my "ISP" (UTexas at Austin) has only my
post from last Wednesday, parts 5 and 9 only of the FAQ 
posted by Jim Varney, and one other message asking if it's 
possible to "see through a satellite sitting at my computer".
So far when I look at DejaNews, there are 4 groups in the 
sci.astro.* bunch, but none of them is ours.

Ed Cannon
ecannon@mail.utexas.edu
Austin, Texas, USA