Flashes from Iridium 33 wreckage? NOT the main body

From: Ramon van der Hilst (vanderhilst@gmail.com)
Date: Tue Mar 31 2009 - 06:05:36 UTC

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    Hi all,
    I'm new on the list, but have been following the hypermail archive for
    over a year (and being an amateur astronomer for about 15 years).
    Yesterday I wanted to look for Iridium 33 flashes, having detailed
    predictions from private conversation with Simone Corbellini and about
    10 before the time that the main body passed (which I missed,
    unfortunately) I saw another satellite passing and flashing in a
    slightly different orbit. Below is the description I send to her.
    Unfortunately, I was unprepared as I was making sure that I would be
    able to see the right part of the sky so didn't have my camera ready..
    Hi Simone,
    while checking the right spot to stand I observed a series of flashes
    already! The satellite passed from southwest to northwest and flashed
    with an interval of about 5 seconds, counted by hand.. it passed very
    close (less than a Moons diameter, less than half a degree) below the
    Moon at 19:43:50 UTC (-5, +10 seconds), extrapolating its trajectory
    along the line from Bellatrix (upper right in Orion) to Aldebaran,
    with about 3 1/2 flashes in the part from Bellatrix to Aldebaran. The
    flashes had an orange hue and mostly reached +2, maybe +1 for the
    brightest. I first saw a flash near Orion's Nebula, and observed a
    dozen (ten or so) flashes. I was unable to follow it past the Moon due
    to the location of my balcony...
    What could it have been?
    Because the flash period was in the 5 second range, I expect it has
    something to do with Iridium 33?
    Best regards,
    Ramon van der Hilst
    N52.309349 E4.980905
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