Re: GEO Flasher?

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 05:29:05 -0600

Jari wrote:

] ... A few seconds later i noted another flash but in the same 
] spot, then another. I came up with a rough timing of 11 
] seconds between the 10 or so flashes that i saw, all at 1x, 
] the brightest being a mag 1.  While looking with my 10x50s 
] more flashes were seen .... I do not know if this flasher was 
] a GEO sat or not as it had moved slightly towards the East 
] during my observations.

Ron Lee mentioned 23230 -- ETS 6 (94-56A), and I'd venture that 
was it.  The description fits very well.  Last night it did 
one-power flashes as bright as +1 visible from here from about 
2:47 (if not earlier, though I did look for it several times 
before I saw any 1x flashes) until about 2:51.  Its period is 
about 11.5 seconds.  

Not as spectacular but not too difficult is Gorizont 23 (91-46A,
21533, near-geosynch flasher), if you can point your binoculars 
pretty well and hold them fairly steady for at least 52 seconds.  
Last night from the middle of the city I found it four different 
times from 3:04:16 to 4:54:04.  It was fainter at the beginning,
but it gets as bright as +4.

Also about that bright but visible for a shorter period of time 
(from here anyway) is Cosmos 2172 (21789, 91-79A).  Last night 
I watched it from about 2:08:59 to 2:27:28, brightest flashes 
to about +4.

And there's good old Superbird A (20040, 89-41A), which I found
at about 3:53:51 and watched until 4:00:33, with brightest 
maxima possibly +3.5.

Finally (Last night was busy for high-flying flashing objects!) 
-- I also managed to find Raduga 33 (23794, 96-10A) and follow 
it for almost 3 minutes (1:29:27 to 2:32:20).  The brightest 
maxima were possibly +4; it did some doubles separated by about 
1.3 seconds.

All of those were from the city using handheld 10x50s, Highfly
predictions, and the Bright Star Atlas 2000.  Location was
30.3068N, 97.7267W, 150 m.  They are definitely cases of "If I
can see them, I know that you can (if they're flashing in your
direction)."

I tried pretty hard but unsuccessfully to find Gorizont 24 
(21759, 91-74A).  I tried for a couple of minutes to find ASC 1 
(15994, 85-76C), but it was in an unfamiliar part of the sky, 
and I don't know how bright it flashes now, if at all.

TDF 1 (19621, 88-98A) has been reported as flashing and is now
appearing low in the east from here, but I was getting tired 
and didn't try for it.

I'm going to be more or less incomunicado for a couple of weeks 
or more.

Clear and dark skies to everyone--

Ed C. - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA

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