Iridium 9 flare from SoCal

ROB MATSON (ROBERT.D.MATSON@cpmx.saic.com)
1 Oct 1997 12:19:03 -0800

Greetings Iridium worshipers,

Well, the weather finally cooperated so I was able to observe a very bright
flare from Iridium 9 last night (Tuesday night Sept. 30th, locally) from
Belmont Shore, CA.  Here are the particulars:

Location:  33.7602 N, 118.1295 W, 5m
Flare peak:  1997/10/1 2:46:54 UTC
Magnitude:  -5 or -6
Duration brighter than Jupiter:  15 seconds, from 2:46:45 to 2:47:00.

The calculated angle off-specular was 0.9 degrees, and the projected-area
factor was high at 0.78 (out of a possible 1.0).  In other words, it doesn't
get much better than that!  Peak occurred within 2 seconds of my predicted
time of 2:46:52, so I have high confidence that my model is working well.

This flare was also observed by Tom Smith in Anaheim, CA, though it probably
was not as bright from his location.

In related news, Ron Lee informs me that he successfully observed my predicted
flare of Iridium 5 this morning at 12:15:25 UTC, 1 Oct 97.  He was somewhat
skeptical that this flare would occur seeing as how it was occuring in the
north on an ascending pass, but flare it did.  Here's what Ron wrote:

"The flare was to occur a short distance from Polaris so I had a great
reference point even at that time. As I was scanning, I noticed a 
moving object.  IT WAS IRIDIUM #5  (naked eye obs).

You were right!!!!!!

I think the max was about 12:15:25 UT.   A bit hard to pin down since
the flare was longer and less abrupt that the bright flare I saw last
night.  Magnitude about 2 using Polaris as a reference.

I was tempted to mention this in my other Iridium posting to Seesat
this morning but will allow you to make the announcement  :)"

Thanx Ron!  The word is now out.  --Rob