Iridium 20 flare / Decaying Rocket

Alexander Seidel (
Sun, 26 Oct 1997 19:17:20 +0100

A few minutes ago I saw an extremely (!) bright flare of Iridium 20,
predicted to have a minimum off-center angle of 0.17 deg (Randy John=B4s
program) or 0.27 deg (Rob Matson=B4s program) at my site:

NORAD __date__ __time__ D azI eI azM eM azS _eS Phs Dur Mag Obs COSPAR
24872 97-10-26 17:45:05 S 149 48 080 71 270 -15  58  16  -8  AS 97034D

The maximum magnitude was an incredible -8, hard to estimate due to lack
of any reference, but this was by far the brightest of all the 10 or so
bright flares which I have seen in the negative magnitudes.

I was also lucky to observe the decaying Foton N11 Soyuz-U rocket (NORAD
25007, 97-60 B) thanks to an email-alert of Lutz Schindler. The rocket
was slowly tumbling (mag +2.0 to +5.0), but the observation was too
short for a measurement of the period. Height was 203 km and shadow
entry occured at UTC 17:30:58 near zenith.

N53.5932 E9.4683 6mASL