I don't know what it was

Matthew J Tansy (chewtansy@juno.com)
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 18:25:58 EST

Mar 29 at 00:50 PST (08:50 UTC)  I looked into the northeastern sky and
saw a very bright  (mag -2) star.  I compared its movement to other
nearby stars, thinking
it was a satellite but it did not move.  After 10 seconds it slowly began
 to fade.
While it was fading I kept comparing its position to the nearby stars to
see if it was still stationary.  It did not move.   It reached mag 3.5
after 10 seconds and stayed at that magnitude.  I recognized it as the
lead star in the Dragon's head, Iota HER.
It was at 055 true, 41 degrees above the  horizon.  From my first
sighting it till it steadied was about 20 seconds.

I just ran IRIDFLAR and the only flare was 4 hours later.  I ran Trakstar
for the 100 brightest satellites (TLE's from CelesTrak) and still didn't
get any hits for that location and time,  even for non-visible passes.

A meteor coming straight at me?  Isn't  20 seconds too long for a meteor?

An airplane with its landing lights on and on a glide slope descending
towards me?
But when it faded, i.e. it turned away from me, it still didn't move.

Any ideas?

Matt
34.0N 117.4W

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