satellite re-entry mystery

Brant Nelson (nelson@ipac.caltech.edu)
Sun, 17 May 1998 17:28:16 -0700

I'd like to share an interesting observation
with you with hopes that someone can solve this
mystery and tell me what I saw many years ago.

I am absolutely sure it was a satellite re-entry,
but by this time close to 20 years have elapsed since
I made the observation and I was just a kid at the time.
I cannot be absolutely sure of the date of the observation
without probably an exhaustive search through a lot of old papers
(which assumes I even have a record of it in the first place).
All I can give you is a very rough estimate of the year
of observation as 1977 to 1983 and that it was sometime
during June through September. The location was in 
Raymond, Maine, lat +43.904, long -70.430. 

What I observed in the evening sky during twilight was a 
bright object, probably mag. -2 or brighter,
in the west around 30-40 deg elevation. At first it didn't
appear to be moving. I swung my telescope over to have a look,
and was dumbfounded to see a whole stream of glittering debris
passing through the field. It was then I noticed that the 
bright object (all I ever saw without the telescope) was
moving slowly toward the south. Other family members
had a look, and we followed it until it faded from view in the south
a few minutes later.
I'd say it never got above 45 deg elevation. Also it never left a
visible
trail, but perhaps the sky was too bright (I think 1st magnitude stars
may have been visible at this point, but I just can't remember).

It would be wonderful to know what this was, and I hope 
I've given enough details that some clever soul on this list
can figure it out. In the meantime I will try to dig up a more solid
date.
I can probably narrow down the range in years at least.

Brant Nelson