Unexpected distant flasher

From: Edward S Light (edlight@juno.com)
Date: Sat Mar 13 2004 - 21:17:59 EST

  • Next message: Tony Beresford: "Re: Unexpected distant flasher"

    Earlier this evening while waiting for some satellite passes, I was
    "sightseeing" through Leo with my [10x50] binoculars when I noticed
    that there was a very slowly moving object passing near Delta Leo
    flashing approximately every nine seconds. A very good match for
    the position and motion of the object was 15698 = 85-037B = Cosmos 1651
    (GLONASS).  The surprise was that this satellite is in an almost-
    circular orbit some 19130 km high so I have to conclude that it was
    flashing specularly ... how else to see something over 21000 km away
    with the naked eye?  Assuming this identification, using the TLEs
    
    Cosmos 1651 (GLONASS)
    1 15698U 85037B   04063.98414171 -.00000067  00000-0  10000-3 0  2238
    2 15698  65.9095 352.0832 0009150  18.2506 341.8002  2.13124553146303
    
    the particulars ...
    
    2004 Mar 14  Alt  Azim  Phase  Max     Range 
       U.T.C      deg  deg   deg   Magntd    km
      00:47.6    36.2 092.4 019.0  4-1/2   21232
      00:49.6    35.6 093.6 017.7  3       21280
      00:50.4    35.4 094.0 017.3  4       21299
    
    Is this object a known flasher?
    
    Clear and dark skies!
       Ed Light
    
    Lakewood, NJ, USA
    N 40.1075, W 074.2312, +24 m (80 ft)
    
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