Iridium 19 and the Moon; and SERT 2 flare

Ed Cannon (
Wed, 20 Oct 1999 02:54:30 -0500

Given that the previous two nights were cloudy and that I 
started out Tuesday with back problems and then later got a 
flu shot, Tuesday evening turned out fairly fortuitous.  
Before seeing the other flasher near Gorizont 23, I was 
lucky enough to see two other very neat things.  

First, at about 1:16 UTC (20 October), not too far above the 
Moon there was a very bright flare of Iridium 19 (24965, 
97-56A).  This one rivaled the Moon in brightness, and then 
it became obvious that it was going to go VERY close to the 
Moon.  So I quickly looked in binoculars and observed it, at 
about mag. +4 (?) and going mostly down but a little to the 
right also, pass extremely near the dark limb of the Moon, 
if not in front of it!

Then about 1:52 I happened to see an extra +2.5 star beside 
Polaris.  It stayed one-power for a minute or so, and then I 
watched it in binoculars for another couple of minutes as it 
moved slowly downward and slightly to the left (retrograde).
SERT 2 (04327, 79-9A) seems to be a very good match.

The observing location was 30.3068N, 97.7267W, 150m.

Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA

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