Re: Possible New Naked Eye GEO Flasher

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Wed, 03 Mar 1999 04:20:09 -0600

I believe that I observed six one-power (+3 at least) flashes 
from the same object as was reported in a message from Ron Lee on 
February 28:

  http://www2.satellite.eu.org/seesat/Feb-1999/0394.html

That night the object was observed from Houston, Texas, beginning
at about 1:30 on March 1 UTC and then from about 1:45-2:15 from
Fort Worth, Texas.

The flashes I observed occurred from about 2:00 to 2:40 on 3 March 
UTC (8:00-8:40 PM Central Standard Time).  The three for which I 
had the best timings were at about 2:28:54, 2:33:00, and 2:37:10, 
for a period of *roughly* four minutes, 8 seconds.  After that, I 
did not see any more.  The first flash that I saw was a little 
east of Orion's belt, and the flashes *appeared* to slowly move 
west to east from there.  However, as Mike McCants wrote just the 
other day, "Of course any geosync will appear to move slowly 
relative to the stars as the stars move 15 degrees per hour east to 
west."   

I believe that this object is likely to be Telstar 401:

Telstar 401   
1 22927U 93077A   99049.33518252 -.00000126 +00000-0 +00000-0 0 01114
2 22927 001.6107 085.7695 0006296 212.7208 228.6988 01.00286207018495

Telstar 401 failed in January 1997, and there was some discussion 
of it at that time: 

  http://www2.satellite.eu.org/seesat/Jan-1997/index.html

including an observation that Mike M. sent:

  http://www2.satellite.eu.org/seesat/Jan-1997/0264.html

in which he reported:

] In general, it fluctuated from mag 9 to 13.5 or 14, with 
] brightenings at 3:37, 3:39, 3:47, 3:53, 4:00, 4:07, and 
] 4:19/20.  The major brightenings were at 4:07 and 4:19/20, 
] possibly indicating a period of about 12 or 13 minutes.

If it's not Telstar 401, there were several other geosynchs in 
the same area!

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