Re: Spectacular USA 86 blue flare

From: Jonathan T Wojack (
Date: Tue Mar 07 2000 - 04:58:24 PST

  • Next message: "Obs Mar 8"

    > Perhaps not quite as spectacular, another large satellite with a
    > reputation for extremely bright glints is:
    > UARS             9.8  4.6  0.0  4.2 v   46
    > 1 21701U 91063B   00062.22664429 +.00001611 +00000-0 +15591-3 0 
    > 01112
    > 2 21701 056.9826 080.2609 0005840 104.8128 255.3568 
    > 14.97977609463113
    > Thanks to Mike McCants, NASA Goddard's OIG and US SPACECOM for this 
    > elset. 
    > Last evening, 2000-03-07 005823.37, about 10 degrees below right of
    > Aldebaran, it shot enough photons into my eye to reach magnitude -2, 
    > and
    > did so while I had a plain view of Jupiter, Rigel, etc., making me 
    > very
    > confident -2 is the right estimate, not -1 and not -3. 
    I saw this satellite on the very same pass, last night, too!  I don't
    know if it made a glint, but it was very bright in my 7x35's, during the
    whole pass.  It was predicted at +3.5, but I think it was at +1.
    > Mir, which lately has developed a reputation for bright glints, as 
    > the
    > solar panels are no longer so consistently collimated toward the 
    > Sun(?),
    > is currently making spectacular passes at mid-Northern latitudes.
    > These glints are not easily (or at all) predictable, so the key is 
    > to do
    > a lot of observing.  Wonders may come your way.
    I was just curious, but what causes an Iridium flare to occur on one
    pass, and not another?  Is it the satellite's orientation in space, or
    the sun-satellite-earth angle, or something else?
    Jonathan T. Wojack                                    
    "If you come from a little bit of slime out of a pool, then what's so
    great about life?"
    ---   Arizona Representative Karen Johnson, on the implications of
    biological evolution
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