Superbird A (89-041A)

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Wed May 26 2004 - 03:37:47 EDT

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    In spite of a lot of clouds around and it being only 15 degrees
    above the horizon, and based on some months or longer ago Mike
    suggesting that it always flashes around 3:00 UTC when it's low
    in the east, I easily saw good old Superbird A (89-041A, 20040) 
    with my 8x42 from about 2:51:23 to 2:54:11 May 26 UTC.  PPAS:
    89- 41 A 04-05-26 02:54:11   EC  145.7 0.2  13 11.21  +4.0->inv
    If you've never seen a flashing geosynch, this is your chance.
    It's bright enough to be easy with 7x binoculars, flashes every
    11.2 seconds for about three or four minutes (and every 22.4 for 
    a minute or two before and after that), and is easy to locate 
    among the stars, especially with the good-sized FOV of binoculars.  
    It also happens that its flash episode doesn't move much relative
    to the stars from night to night, so once you've found it, you
    know when and where to look for it the next night.
    It will take a few weeks to move from low in the east from here
    to low in the west, and it flashes 60 to 80 seconds later each
    night depending on your location.  What I can't remember at the 
    moment is the difference in time of its flashes in different 
    locations, but I think it's not a lot, especially within a 
    given time zone.  I'm not sure if it will be visible in the 
    Pacific time zone this time since it's flashing pretty early in 
    the evening here.  
    Here's Iridium 914's (97-030A, 24836) flash sequence from its
    pass some hours ago, all very easy to see without binoculars:
    Begin 2004-05-26 02:18:24.37
    13.33 02:19:28.67 End
    Ney Museum site:  30.307N, 97.727W, 150m.
    I've been trying to time Dodecapole 2 (65-065C, 01510), and when
    I add up the primary, secondary, and tertiary flashes, it seems
    like its flash period is around ten seconds.  I can't find a 
    good image of it now, but it's also called "Porcupine".
    I looked at the zenith to see a low pass of COMETS (98-011A, 
    25175), and there was another object beside it, also going west 
    to east.  It seems to have been 65-082AF (01668), which the SSR 
    calls "Titan 3C Transtage Debris" [AF].  It was about +5.0
    magnitude up there at the zenith.  
    FWIW, I just stumbled across the "US Space Objects Registry", a
    web site of the US Department of State:
    No response from OIG at the moment (7:30-35 UTC).
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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