Intro + strange observation

From: Al Rubin (
Date: Mon May 21 2001 - 00:29:35 PDT

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    As requested of new subscribers, here's my introduction...
    My name is Al Rubin. I live in Joshua Tree, California, USA
    (lat 34.238551, long -116.272407). I am only a casual observer of
    satellites, but have been doing so for many years.
    Several years ago, I casually followed a satellite with binoculars as
    far as I could see it and was surprised how easy it was to tell that the
    satellite was an object at great height because it faded away at such a
    high altitude (unlike a plane which can be followed right to the
    horizon). Since then, I have been observing satellites more frequently.
    The following sighting on Monday, May 14, 2001 at approximately 9:30
    PDT, has prompted me to join SeeSat-L. On that night, I watched a
    satellite traveling north to south through binoculars (16 x 42). At
    approximately 45 degrees above the southern horizon, I saw a dim flash
    and the one object very clearly and suddenly became two objects.
    Both objects sharply diverted from the original trajectory, one
    traveling toward the southeast, the other to the southwest (both at
    opposite yet equal angles to the original trajectory). I was able to see
    both objects in my field of view for about 2 seconds before their
    individual trajectories diverged to the point they could no longer be
    seen in the same field of view. I followed the southwest object for
    several minutes more before it became too dim to see.
    My apologies for not recording any more detailed information about the
    sighting. I was quite startled and was not able to clearly recall
    details such as, "Were the two objects of equal brightness?"
    Any suggestions as to what I saw??
    Al Rubin
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