Cosmos 2053

Sue J. Worden (worden@uts.cc.utexas.edu)
Sun, 13 Oct 1996 22:32:50 -0500 (CDT)

At the Central Texas Star Party this past weekend, Ed Cannon and I
observed a remarkably long-lived and colorful brightening of Cosmos
2053.  Very shortly after culminating, no more than 5 degrees down,
it changed from a steady white pinprick at about magnitude +3 to a
brilliant bluish-white sparkler at an estimated magnitude of -0.5.
By "sparkler", I don't mean "rapid flasher", but instead something
similar to, but more compact than, a lit fireworks-type sparkler(*).
The bluish color and brightening were apparent until it was lost
from view, though it did dim somewhat as it receded.

I have been wondering whether we witnessed a maneuver, but surely a
nozzle plume would not be visible at this range...?

(*) Sparklers are readily available here at any fireworks stand and
probably familiar to all USA readers.  My apologies to anyone who is
not familiar with sparklers, for I have been unable to come up with
a better description.

--Sue Worden (worden@uts.cc.utexas.edu)

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Cosmos 2053      4.0  2.0  0.0  6.2 d
1 20389U 89100  A 96277.53377406  .00019301  00000-0  12530-3 0  3976
2 20389  73.5087 308.0313 0000845 343.2956  16.8147 15.75821978381845
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  30.339  98.254 1200. Pedernales Falls S.P.    2000  6.0 20 F F T T T

***  1996 Oct  11  Fri evening  *** Times are PM CDT ***  1949  650

 H  M  S  Tim Al Azi C Dir  Mag Dys F  Hgt Shd  Rng  EW Phs  R A   Dec

20389 Cosmos 2053    4.0 2.0      10 4.2   4.5
 8  5  9  0.3 47 217    26  3.9   9 2  215 128  289 2.9 103 1817  -6.3
 8  5 29  0.3 62 234    40  3.4   9 2  215 121  242 3.5  99 1824  11.6
 8  5 49  0.3 72 290 C  93  3.1   9 2  215 114  225 3.8  93 1834  34.6
 8  6 10  0.3 60 342   142  3.2   9 2  215 106  245 3.6  86 1850  57.3
 8  6 30  0.3 46 357   154  3.7   9 2  215  98  294 3.0  81 1926  74.4
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Notes:
1. CDT = UT - 5h
2. Crisp clear sky, limiting magnitude better than +5 (later)
3. I was using 7x20's, Ed was using 7x50's
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