Superbird A: one-power flashes

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 04:07:39 EDT

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    Last night I was able to see at least a half-dozen flashes from
    Superbird A (89-041A, 20040) without magnification from roughly
    3:16:49 to 3:18:52 Oct 25 UTC.  (There probably were more that 
    I missed while writing the others down.)  I first found it with 
    binoculars and then lined up its position just above a treetop, 
    which served as a great reference point.  Although the sky 
    transparency was excellent, given the moonlight and the 
    satellite being only about 26 degrees above the horizon, its 
    brightest flashes may have been as bright as +2.  I observed 
    it and Gorizont 23 (91-046A, 21533), as well as some LEOs, 
    from the Elisabet Ney Museum grounds: 30.307N, 97.727N, 150m.
    Iridium 24 (97-082B, 25105) did a nice pass in twilight, with
    several flashes of +1 magnitude to at least -1 if not -2.  But
    the last couple of times I've timed it (watching one-power 
    only), I sure can't see easily what its rotation period is.
    A note on the "one-power" term.  In something I read somewhere 
    it said our (dilated) eyes are sometimes said to be "1x7 
    binoculars", and I think that's what led me to use "one-power"
    (which I think I also read somewhere) since "naked eye" and 
    "unaided eye" aren't correctly applicable, it seems to me, to 
    those of us who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.  
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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