Re: Help with ident of tumbling sat

Ralph McConahy (
Sun, 28 Nov 1999 21:58:47 -0800

David Psaila wrote:

>I first caught the satellite at approx. 11:20 UT on 28th November (10:20
>AEST on the 28th locally) in my 8" dobs at ~60X just near Alpha Aries. It
>was moving in a easterly direction maintaining approximately the same
>altitude, passsing about 5 deg. south of the Pleiades at approx 11:30 UT.
>The satellite had a magnitude of ~7.0-8.0 but it was clearly tumbling. The
>light curve seemed to display 2 or 3 three peaks in about a 3 second
>interval with the brightest being a short sharp flash to about mag. 5.0.
>The other notable feature of this satellite was the leisurely pace at which
>it was moving across the sky. It took approximately 25 sec to cross a 1 deg
>field in my telescope...


The following fits your description exactly:

Telstar 402                                      23761 x 203 km
1 23249U 94058A   99330.99947021  .00029182  00000-0  13422-2 0  1146
2 23249   6.9331 191.5599 6415396 106.4465 329.2441  3.49010418 54300

There is only one entry for this object in the PPAS database. It was made in
June 1997 and gives the flash period then at 0.8 seconds. No doubt it has
slowed down some since then.

  Ralph McConahy
  34.8829N  117.0064W  670m

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