Re: Two Flares Tonight 5 secs Apart in NE USA
Thu, 24 Sep 1998 11:50:55 EDT

In a message dated 9/24/98 08:58:10 AM EDT, writes:

> My Iridflar Output for this evening:

>      Local    Local     Iridium          Sun    Flare  Max Flare  Ir
>Day   Date     Time    Azm El Rnge N I  Azm Elv Mag MMA  Bearing    # S
>Wed 98- 9-23 20:54:04  007 21 1018 A L  289 -21   1  L  28.5 mi E  51  
>Wed 98- 9-23 20:54:09  007 21 1059 A L  289 -21   1  L  32.2 mi E  35  

>  I know that this is short notice but there must be others in the NE USA
>  will see 2 flares 5 seconds apart.

Opps.  I used the old address so the post was somewhat late.

At any rate the observation was unique.  The two Iridium satellites (51 and
35) were descending just to the right of Polaris at about a 4.5 mag.  Shortly
after, the Iridium on the right (35?) began to brighten to a +2.   As the left
Iridium (51?)  began to "catch up" to the 35 both flares to the predicted +1.
There was almost no separation between the two satellites - approximately the
same distance as the double star in the handle of the Big Dipper.   A friend
of mine observed the same pass about 15 miles (25 km) to the East and reported
that they were both easily negative value magnitude (circa -2).  

I observed TIPS for the first time during an evening pass.   Patience paid off
because I was unable to resolve it until well into the pass.  I observed it
passing between beta and gamma Pegasus at 20:19:00 EDT (00:19:00 UT, 24
September).  It was mag 6.5 at the most and appeared (to me observing through
12x50s) blurry.   Visibility was excellent, at least for my location (which is
not to be confused with a dark sky location).

Don Gardner
76.8419 W, 39.1796 N,  34m ASL