Superbird for this weekend

Matson, Robert (
Fri, 8 Oct 1999 14:37:48 -0700

Hi All,

I finally got some time to reduce the Superbird timing
data provided by Malcolm Purves, Mike McCants, Ed Cannon,
Ron Lee and Don Gardner, and I'm happy to report that the
axis is "behaving" very well indeed.  The spin axis
precession rate continues to be about 0.0436 degrees
eastward per day, or one full revolution in about 22.6
years.  (For those who are interested, the spin axis
on 10/1/99 was RA 18.2080 hours, Dec -1.9111 deg.)  The
normals of the surfaces causing the flashes are almost
exactly 90 degrees tilted with respect to the spin axis.

Flashes are currently visible from the entire continental
U.S., Canada, Mexico, central America and the Caribbean.
As always, the flashes start each night on the west coast
and end about 25 minutes later on the east coast.

Some center times (UT) for Friday night, October 8th
(October 9 UT):

San Francisco:  3:20:30
Los Angeles:  3:21
Las Vegas:  3:23
Seattle:  3:23:30
Phoenix:  3:24
Salt Lake City:  3:25
Albuquerque:  3:27
Denver:  3:28
Dallas/Houston:  3:30:30
Chicago:  3:37
Huntsville:  3:37
Cleveland:  3:40
Cape Kennedy:  3:40
Miami:  3:40:30
Rochester, NY:  3:42
Washington, D.C.:  3:42
Delaware:  3:43
New Jersey/New York City:  3:43:30
Boston:  3:45
Maine:  3:46
Nova Scotia:  3:48

For subsequent nights, add about 1 minute per night for the
west coast, 75 seconds for the northeast, 90 seconds for the
south and southeast.

Current flash location is in Aquarius near RA 23h 31m,
Dec -11.9.  (Actual declination of flashes is sensitive to
your latitude, but this point will easily be within a
binocular FOV of the correct location).  This is not a
particularly rich star field, so there are no good reference
stars.  The nearest bright star is Fomalhaut, which will be
about 20 degrees to the lower right of Superbird.

Good luck!  --Rob

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