Re: How visible are flares???

Stephmon (
Tue, 26 May 1998 21:03:09 EDT

In a message dated 5/26/98 7:48:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< I've been watching this list for a while now, and I've been trying to see
 the flares, but, so far, to no avail.  >>

In the past few weeks, I've noticed that quite a number of predicted flares
have been either drastically below expectation, or nonevents entirely.  I have
been able to locate the satellite in each instance, but the flares just
haven't been what I've seen in the past.  I wonder if the column of smoke from
the wildfires in Mexico reaches high enough in the atmosphere to artificially
"eclipse" the flare events.  Any thoughts?

Last night, for example at 01:57:40 UTC, I observed Iridium 16 from 28.38N,
81.35W (Orlando Florida).  The eastern half of the sky was obscured by
smoke/haze, but the western sky was clear.  I watched Iridium 16 practically
horizon to horizon, and it never topped Mag 2 (predicted flare was -1).
Cosmos 2347 made a similar pass at 01:10:09 and was noticeably brighter at
~Mag 1.5    I've observed at least 2 similar incidents with predicted flare
values of Mag -3 and -4 (brightness never exceeded the satellites 'inherent'
visibility by more than ~0.5).