Random observations

From: chester.geoff@usno.navy.mil
Date: Fri Mar 31 2000 - 07:10:20 PST

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    Greetings all...
    Had a spectacular show from Superbird-A last night from my yard in
    Alexandria, VA (38.803N, 77.050W).  I'd just dusted off my 9X63 binox and,
    at about 0306 UTC (3/31) saw a bright (2nd magnitude) yellow flash from the
    'bird.  I followed the flashes for the next 6 minutes as they steadily
    declined to invisibility.  I'm hoping (against hope) that the weather stays
    clear thru Saturday, as we're scheduled for a star party at one of our local
    "dark-sky" haunts.  This'll be a fun one to show the folks...
    Last weekend the family and I were on a short cruise to the Bahamas.  We
    were about 80 miles east of Miami when my wife and I watched a spectacular
    pass of HST (I never get a good view of it from home...)  We both noticed
    two very distinct, sharp fades (more like blinks) to invisibility during the
    pass, then a rapid brightening to mag -2 just before shadow entry.  I can
    understand the brightening, but what about the fades?  We both saw them, so
    I assume they are real (we were, after all, on a cruise...)
    | Geoff Chester   grc@usno.navy.mil  Public  Affairs Office |
    | http://www.usno.navy.mil             US Naval Observatory |
    |                             3450 Massachusetts Avenue, NW |
    | (202) 762-1489 (FAX)                Washington, DC  20392 |
    | "Each passing hour brings the Solar System 43,000 miles   |
    | closer to the globular cluster M13 in Hercules; yet there |
    | are still some misfits who insist there's no such thing   |
    | as progress!"     --    Ransom K. Fern                    |
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