Another Iridium, 92076B?, STS/Mir, terms

Ed Cannon (
Mon, 06 Oct 1997 03:59:12 -0400

Based on another prediction from Randy John's program, my sister and 
I observed an Iridium flare to about -1.5 from San Antonio, Texas, 
on Saturday evening (about 1:10:50 [?] to 1:11:20 Sunday 5 Oct UTC).  
The best mirror-angle prediction I had was 1.67 at 1:10:59.  Now I 
owe two Iridium reports.  I left her one for Monday evening with a 
predicted mirror angle of 1.13.  

Friday (morning here in Austin as I was waiting for the Iridium 
prediction that I reported Friday, I looked for Cosmos 2219 Rk 
(92-76B, 22220) to appear in the south.  I didn't see it.  Or did I?  
In the area of where I was looking for it (one-power), a very bright 
flash caught my eye.  I kept looking for where it should be but saw 
no satellite.  Then there was another bright flash in about the right 
position.  Then I got more ready and when there was another flash 
looked at my digital clock.  I got 4 times, the last 3 more certain 
than the first:  11:23:07, 11:23:26, 11:23:41, and 11:24:00, each one 
pretty much on track for Cosmos 2219 Rk.  These were very bright, at 
least mag 0.  But I never saw an object in between the flashes.  And
the flashes seemed to differ from one another -- single, double....   
It was really kind of strange.  There was a little thin fog; maybe
that's why I didn't see anything between them and why they appeared
yellow.  Anyway, in the PPAS database Leo Barhorst has reported in 
April of this year 3 obs with periods in the 30+ second range (and in 
the 40+ second range in March!).  It would appear that *if* it was 
92-76B, I got 34 seconds, but with two unequal parts, one 15 seconds 
and the other 19 seconds.  So I'm just not sure and wanted to report 
it as such.  This and the Friday Iridium were both from outside my

I was truly thrilled by the Atlantis-Mir passes over here Friday 
evening!!  I had never seen them both together, and we had very good 
weather.  I was able to help several other folks see them as well;
all of us were at a birthday party.  It was great!  STS-86 was *very*
bright as it rose in the WSW; Mir followed faintly about a minute 
later.  But as they progressed across the sky to NW and on to NNE,
STS-86 gradually dimmed, but Mir brightened significantly -- due to
us getting a better phase on its solar panels.  I was thrilled!

Terms:  Just in general connotation, to me "glint" means very brief 
and not very bright; "flare" means very bright and of extended 
duration.  I wasn't around here when those terms apparently were 
discussed 2 years ago or whenever that was.  Anyway, to me what 
I've seen Iridiums (and Mir, HST, GRO, and NOAA 11) do are flares.  
HST's have been the briefest but about the brightest after the -6 
Iridium I saw -- except for one Mir pass which may have equalled 
HST in brightness and lasted many seconds.  

In what sense is NORAD obsolete?  Here's its URL:

Those considered, I can agree with several of Walter Nissen's 
comments on terminology and related issues.  

I'm very happy to see the layouts being preserved on the hypermail
archive!  Now I see one drawback to the <PRE></PRE> method, which 
I was so hoping would solve problems.  Some messages don't have 
carriage returns or something and are just running on and on to 
the right....  (Gosh, I hope this one doesn't do that!)  

Ed Cannon
Austin, Texas, USA -- 30.3086N, 97.7279W, 165m