Iridium 30 long flare (+aurora again!)

Date: Tue May 02 2000 - 01:33:42 PDT

  • Next message: "Obs May 2"

         Finally managed to do some observing for the first time in a few weeks 
         on Saturday (29/4).  One object I was particularly keen to see was 
         24949 IRIDIUM 30 which was predicted to flare around 21:38UT.  This 
         was the first flare I've seen for ages and it was unusual - it became 
         visible on time in the North East and gradually brightened over a 
         period of some 20 seconds to around magnitude -1 after which it faded, 
         again taking around 20 seconds to fade to invisibility at which point 
         I tracked it to eclipse in binoculars.  I've never seen a flare that 
         lasted so long!  Is this common or just a feature of the Motorola 
         Also observed the same night ...
         26062 OCS - made a nice high elevation pass.  It was definitely 
         fluctuating in magnitude between 3 and 4 - this is a spherical object 
         with I assume a fairly uniform surface - why the fluctuations?
         20692 NOSS 2-1D - around mag 7, first time I have seen this object.  
         It was faint even in my (v. old!) 16x50s and I  couldn't find any 
         other components of the trio.
         25994 TERRA - This object moved S-N directly overhead - it was a 
         bright mag 2 then suddenly faded when it was overhead to mag 3.5 - 4, 
         and remained at that magnitude until eclipse.
         Whilst looking out for the Ir30 flare I saw to sats lowish in the East 
         going N-S and close together, later I identified these as
         23405 COSMOS 22976 r and 11269 COSMOS 1077 r.
         Also saw high elevation passes of 13154 COSMOS 1356 r and 13121 COSMOS 
         1346 r.
         Aurora fans look out - high activity last night and the next couple of 
         days have auroral storm warnings due to a mass coronal ejection 
         released from the sun on April 30th.
         Matt Fawcett  53.893N 0.273W
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