Do you have Flash data for Progress M-36 r?

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Thu, 9 Oct 1997 17:54:30 -0400 (EDT)

Jim Cook writes, and authorizes release of, his private mail: 
> >There is a so-so pass in the NW this evening 
> Actually, it wasn't too bad.  I also ran my today's SeeSat Digest  Progress 
> M-36 TLE through my Mac's Orbitrak, once I got your note about Mir's pass 
> tonight - and I think I spotted that too!  At least, what I saw followed the 
> right track and was within reason of the predicted time - about 7 or 8 
> minutes or so ahead of Mir and about 10 degrees lower in the sky (the SeeSat 
> posting noted the elements were prior to two scheduled manuvers).  Although I 
> picked it up just before it went behind a tree, what surprised me about 
> Progress was it was flashing brigtly - three flashes [2nd mag or so] in about 
> seven seconds (then it disappeared behind the tree on me).  In any case, that 
> was fun - Mir and Atlantis in one of the best shows I've seen yet on Saturday 
> (10/4) - and now Progress and Mir two evenings later. 
When I calculated, based on later(?) elsets, this object was 
Progress M-36 r.  Some software truncates the display of vulgar names and 
can confuse you.  It wouldn't seem to be efficient for an object scheduled 
to dock at Mir to be tumbling.  Many thanks to Alan Pickup for his posting 
of anticipated elsets for Prgr M-36 r.  Picking the one closest to "my 
longitude" gave me confidence in being able to see it. 
Prog M-36 Soyuz r                                188 x 169 km 
1 25003U 97058B   97280.03352202  .05459847  20413-1  64178-3 0 90073 
2 25003  51.6483 243.7656 0014476  71.4007 288.7564 16.35409225   224 
As it turned out, the latest one I received from OIG 
1 25003U 97058B   97279.78894693  .03516494  12242-4  53692-3 0   106 
2 25003  51.6462 245.1357 0016448  69.3626 290.9215 16.32881635   188 
gave very similar results (both bstar's can't possibly be correct, yes? 
I used QuickSat, which uses ndot2, as I recall), but I wouldn't have had 
the same confidence in it; hence, I might not have observed (my health 
makes it very difficult to hold the same posture for a long time). 
When I observed this object, it was moving very rapidly in a somewhat pale 
blue sky and put on a very impressive, near zenithal, performance, 
flashing irregularly to mag -1.  With some difficulty, I recorded these 
flash times, 0 being 19971006 233427.14s: 
Can someone, perhaps with other data, ferret out the timing of secondary 
maxima, or am I forced to settle for 61.49 / 7 periods = 8.8 seconds? 
David DeFelice observed the same pass, from some km away, reporting similarly 
dramatic brightness fluctuations. 
Note that English scholars prefer the spelling of secondary given above. 
Walter Nissen          
-81.8637, 41.3735, 256m elevation


All who look up at the sky with wonder are astronomers.