Unid Geosync Flasher

Richard Baldridge (rbaldridge@LittonSolidState.com)
Fri, 16 Oct 1998 08:53:00 -0700

Maybe someone can help me with this.

I spotted an unidentified geosynch FLASHER on two successive nights
which is not in A. Thompson's 4000+ elsets (EL981006 from RPV BBS) or
McCants' cs981008.  I flashed quite bright, occasionally to about 6th
magnitude in a very irregular fashion and was quite interesting.  (It
was not Superbird-A!)

The following approximate positions were obtained:
Oct 16, 1998 (UT)  6h18m UT    Dec  -4.45   RA 0h40m48s
Oct 16, 1998 (UT)  6h53m UT    Dec  -1.65   RA 1h13m36s

Observing Position:  N37.2718  W121.9770  Alt 72Meters, near San Jose,
California USA

Track CLOSELY paralleled NORAD 04902 (from a SKYMAP plot) but the track
was a bit further west, so the unidentified sat should be close to an
inclination of 15 degrees.  It was moving north through the normal
geostationary band at about the same time (6h15mUT) on both nights, so I
conclude it is closely geosync.  NORAD 04902 should have been about 5.6
degrees east of the object, but I did not look for it to verify the
position precisely.

I do have a pretty good video tape of the object taken through a 16"
reflector with an image intensifier if anyone is interested in seeing
it.  I hope someone can identify this satellite as I'd like to be able
to see it again and again.

RICK BALDRIDGE       rbaldridge@littonssd.com