Tuesday night (Sept. 15) obs

Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@cpmx.saic.com)
Wed, 16 Sep 1998 13:57:51 -0700

It was a busy observing night for me.  Started off with a zenith pass
of Cosmos 1441 R/B (#13819) at about mag 3.7 while I was timing
flashes from Superbird A (#20040).  Measured Superbird's period at
23.123 +/- .007 seconds.  Peak flashes were mag +2.

Next was a zenith pass of Cosmos 975 (#10561) at mag +4, followed
soon after by Lacrosse 3 R/B (#25018) which went into the earth's
shadow right at the zenith.  This latter satellite is clearly rotating,
but I had difficulty timing it because the minima and maxima are
broad, and I was only able to time two complete cycles before
shadow entry.  My best guess is a period of 39 seconds +/- 2 secs.
The magnitude variation was quite large, from about +4 to +1.

When I initially acquired Cosmos 2263 R/B (#22803) at culmination,
it was at least 2 magnitudes dimmer than predicted -- at only mag
6, I was lucky to acquire it at all.  But it slowly brightened to +4
or maybe even +3 as I continued to follow it into the north, when
it should have been getting dimmer.  Is this rocket body slowly
rotating?

While tracking C2263r, at 3:38:30 UTC (9/16) I spotted a dim
unexpected southbound satellite crossing its path.  This turned
out to be Cosmos 468 (#05705).  A few minutes later I tracked
C1077 high in the west at mag +4.0, as predicted.

Final sat for the night was Landsat 4, which popped out of shadow
very close to the zenith, brightened to +4, and slowly dimmed as
it dropped into the north-northwest.

I watched for the ICBM shot out of Vandenberg from 1am to
1:30am, but saw nothing.  Glad I didn't bother to stay up past
2am -- I called the hotline this morning and found out the
launch was called off due to downrange problems.

I looked for flashes from ETS-6 starting at 1:42am PDT, but saw
nothing with my 8 x 56's.  Has anyone seen flashes from this
satellite recently?  It is proving difficult to pin down this satellite's
spin axis.  --Rob