Unknown satellite glint

Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@saic.com)
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 10:54:03 -0700

Hi Brian,

> I'm a little new at this but I believe I saw my first Iridium flare last
night.
>  Problem is none of the iridium flare prediction programs I've used
predict
> a flare at the time I saw it.

Based on the time and location of your observation, no
Iridium satellites could have flared.  However, it might
have been a glint off of another satellite.  But something
about your observation is not quite right, because no
satellite was at RA 19h 36m 12s, Dec +32 15 50 at 2:06 UT
from your location.  Just so we're clear, I assume we're
talking 02:06 UT on October 13 (i.e. 21:06 CDT on October 12).
I don't think the time is the problem, because no satellites
pass close to those coordinates within +/- 5 minutes of 2:06.
So maybe the coordinates are wrong -- what stellar references
did you use to come up with these?  The nearest bright stars
are beta- and eta-Cygni, inside the summer triangle.  If
the time is off by a little over a minute, then one possibility
is a glint from Cosmos 872 around 2:07:10 to 2:07:30.  This
is ordinarily a very dim satellite, but temporary glints are
always possible.  Here is the TLE if you want to try it
against your memory:

Cosmos 872                                       1464 x 1399 km
1 09589U 76118B   99278.10484722 -.00000001 +00000-0 +92189-4 0 08733
2 09589 074.0262 158.9983 0041450 330.9339 028.9412 12.57949399048276

Good luck,
Rob

P.S.  You ~will~ have a nice flare from Iridium 8 on Friday night
around 8:11:50pm CDT, in the vicinity of alpha-Aqr.  But you'll
need to firm up the coordinates of your location a little better
to know how bright to expect the flare.  (1 decimal place on
longitude is not enough).

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