Re: Unidentified Bright Tumbling Satel

Dr.Brian Hunter (bkh@chem.QueensU.CA)
Sun, 1 Sep 1996 09:35:34 -0400 (EDT)

On Sat, 31 Aug 1996, Robert Sheaffer 

I really must learn to respond faster as Ted Molczan has beaten me to the 
keyboard.  I agree that Cosmos 2322 RB is the most likely candidate but 
am also confused by the timing.  I observed this object on 1996 08 29 at 
1:07 UT flashing with a period of 2.10 s and it matched your description 
very well.  I checked the observation against the prediction from the 
latest new_molc.Z set from kilroy and the culmination of the pass is 
right in the middle of my flash timings.  I was more interested in the 
flashes that the accuracy of the prediction so I might have missed a 
difference of a few seconds.   When I take the same data set and make a 
prediction for your observation, I get a zenith time of 20:50:40 for your 
location yesterday evening.  Hmmm.  Must keep an eye on this beast.


> Tonight we were preparing to watch the pass of 19671 Lacrosse 1,
> predicted by Quicksat to transit at approx. 20:55 PDT (Sept. 1 03:55 UT),
> passing from Ursa Major in the northwest to near Vega overhead. Just
> before it was due, an unexpected tumbling satellite was seen
> travelling approximately the same path about 1 1/2 minute earlier, 
> reaching transit at approx. 20:53:20. It was quite bright, approx Mag. 2
> at its brightest, fading to about Mag 4, with a period of about 2 
> seconds. It passed into Lyra from the northwest, then on toward
> Aquila/Pegasus. At first I thought it might be Lacrosse 1, but having
> seen that before I did not expect the tumble. Less than two minutes
> behind it, Lacrosse 1 appeared right on schedule.
> Playing around with Quicksat and Skymap using Molczan's elements,
> and VISUAL.TLE, no proper candidates turn up. Anybody have any ideas
> what we saw? Might the object be associated with Lacrosse 1 in
> some way?
> We also saw 3598, the OAO-2 Rocket, glint as bright as magnitude 1
> as it was approaching from the northwest at approx 20:39.
>         Robert Sheaffer - - Skeptical to the Max!
>      San Jose, California -  37 deg 17' 19" north, 121 deg 59' 09" west.
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Brian K. Hunter                 
Professor of Chemistry                    Phone: (613)-545-2620
Queen's University                        Fax:   (613)-545-6669
Kingston, Ontario    K7L 3N6  Canada