Re: seeing double?

Mir16609@aol.com
Wed, 14 Oct 1998 14:31:36 EDT

In a message dated 10/14/98 12:50:41 PM EDT, thall@novatekonline.com writes:

> for Observer's Location: Canyon Meadows ( 40.40?N, 111.54?W)
>  14 Oct 06:51:58 -5 40? 166? (S ) 8.8 km (E) -6 Iridium 51
>  
>  To my surprise, I saw two simultaneous flares, both of equal brightness, in
>  the predicted time and location, but spaced about 2-3 degrees apart.  My 
>  location was about 6 km west of the flare center.
>  
>  Are there two satellites in nearly identical orbits, or could this have 
>  been caused by atmospheric refraction?

I reported a predicted double flare last month:
http://www2.satellite.eu.org/seesat/Sep-1998/0262.html

Apparently there is a spare Iridium in (nearly?) every plane which is attitude
controlled (i.e. flares are predictable) but they are in a slightly lower
orbit.  This would allow for the spare passing the operational Iridiums
periodically and (if you are lucky) double flares.

Cheers
Don Gardner
Homepage: http://members.aol.com/mir16609/
76.8419 W, 39.1796 N,  34m ASL