Wed, 29 Oct 97 05:19:40 PST

Jan Vansteelandt mentioned an Ypres, Belgium observation of two -5 magnitude
satellites moving parallel within 3 degrees of each other at 20:55 UT 97-10-28.
A NOSS trio is a very close match!!  They travelled for NNE to SE, passing
within 5 degrees of Vega at around 8:55:20.

20682 90-50B  Leader
20691 90-50C  Trailer
20692 90-50D  Outlier

There was 3 degrees of separation between B and D.

It isn't unheard of, though extremely rare, for NOSS trios to be very bright.
I witnessed two such passes on 96-09-04 and 96-09-07, and they were both
the same trio as above!  In each of my passes, two of the satellites were
brighter, but even the dimmer one was easily seen.  I estimated
the two brightest as being around -4 at the time.  They were much
brighter than Jupiter, which was visible in the sky.

I've seen many NOSS passes where two of the cluster were brighter than
the third, but only a handful of the 200 passes I've seen were brighter
than mag 3.

Perhaps during this pass, the two bright ones had deployed some sort
of solar sail?  I've heard that mentioned as one possibility for the
rare bright passes, but I can't remember the source of that rumor.

>Yesterday evening, I was called by an amateur astronomer who had seen
>two very bright satellite flares  (mag -5) moving parallel
>Observers place: (Ypres, Belgium)
>   2degrees53' E
>   50degrees49' N
>Time: around 20h55 UT (97-10-28)
>Brightness: both satellites were mag -5 (minus 5 !!!) during about
>6 or 7 seconds  after discovery
>Sats were seperated 3 degrees
>Position of sats: around 17-18h RA and 40 dec (5 degrees from Wega)
>Moving from NNW towards SSE

 Craig Cholar    3432P@VM1.CC.NPS.NAVY.MIL
 Marina, California
 36 41 10.3N,  121 48 17.9W    (36.6862, -121.8050)      UTC -8