RE: Top 51

Ted Molczan (molczan@fox.nstn.ca)
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 10:30:02 -0400

Sidney Miller asked Rainer:

>   Rainer, I enjoyed your list of bright objects, because 
>that's what I like to show people in hopes that they will join
>this hobby.  But I've never seen the following any brighter 
>than magnitude 4.0 -- or worse.  Are these four objects 
>bright ones or dim ones for the rest of SeeSat-L?
>
> 12054  80089A   Cosmos 1220
> 22220  92076B   Cosmos 2219 r
> 03019  67104B   Cosmos 185 r
> 04850  71003B   Meteor 1-7r 

Here is my answer, which is not meant to preempt
Rainer in any way.

The standard magnitudes in my weekly xxx.n2l file
are mean values. Those that are followed by a "v"
are based on visual observations, most of them by 
Russell Eberst, and numbering in the hundreds for 
some objects or classes of objects. Rainer made most 
of the calculations, which he published on Seesat-L
in late 1995 and early 1996. 

So predicted magnitudes, including Rainer's maximums 
for his brightest 51, are mean values. Observers 
should find that most of their observations fall 
within about +/-1 mag, and a few will exceed predictions
by +/-2 mag.

For the objects you listed above, I searched Russell's
observations since Aug'89, and found that Rainer's
maximums were met or exceeded on numerous occasions.
Here are the maximums I found:

88089A  0.8
92076B  1.8
67104B  1.7
71003B  2.2

So over many observations, observers can count on
the "v" objects meeting and often exceeding the predicted
magnitude. The "d" std mags are based on the mean of the
object's three dimensions, and are not as reliable as
the "v" objects.

Ted Molczan