Re: Unidentified Molynia?

Ron Lee (
Mon, 25 May 1998 21:57:34 -0600

Seems other folks saw the same object. This from sci.astro.amateur:


I was observing at Rideau Ferry, Ontario Canada when
a fellow observer, Stewart, ran up to me ad said. "Tell me
I'm not crazy: There's a new star in the big dipper." 

This was at about 22:00 EDT. There was a new 3 mag
star just inside the bowl of the big dipper.
Stewart's lady confirmed that it looked star-like
in binoculars. 

For about a minute we asked ourselves if
it was moving. It was moving, but *very* slowly.
The track seemed to be from a point 1/5
of the way from Megrez to Dubhe to a point 
about 1/3 of the way from Phecda to Merak.

Then it did something that I thought was pretty 
strange: it faded. (at about 22:04 EDT.)  

But Stewart had already been tracking it in
his 20" Obsession. It faded to perhaps 10th  
magnitude and was moving accross his low power
field of view in about 20 seconds. It still
looked starlike. 

If it was a satellite, it was the 2nd strangest
that I have seen. (#1 place does go to the triad
of NOAA satellites that fly in a triangular 

Seen in Uma from latitude N45 I dont see how it could have
been geosync: bloody far from the equitorial plane
of earth. Moving so slowly should have been 
in a high orbit. 
Was it moving in the right direction to move into
the earh's shadow? Perhaps someone with
satellite software can help us. If it did
enter the earths shadow, shouldnt it have
been fainter than 10th magnitude?   
I look forward to reading the explanation 
for this one. 

Clear, and sometimes mysterious, skies.