Gorizont 14 - Bright geoflasher accelerating?

Tue, 21 Sep 99 12:04:17 PDT

Hi Everyone,
		Yesterday I observed the near geosynchronous satellite Gorizont 14 (#,
87-040A) which was flashing brightly at magnitude +5. Flash period was
43.85s counted over 30 periods ending at 19:42UT, 20th September 1999.
Flashes had smooth maxima which lasted approximately 1s. The flash period
is approximately half the period reported in the PPAS database, which
indicates either that the period has accelerated or that only alternate
flashes were visible in previously reported observations of this satellite.

87- 40 A 98-03-27 12:05      AB                85.0   peak flashes to mag +3
87- 40 A 98-03-27 12:05      AB                85.0   peak mag +3
87- 40 A 98-03-28 12:00      AB                84.92
87- 40 A 98-09-20 05:55      MM             57 87.33  T=4977.8, mag4for80min
87- 40 A 98-09-24 05:49:48.8 RM        .15  45 87.320 T=3929.4, mag +5->inv

It would be interesting to identify the cause of the change in flash
period. I remember trying to observe Gorizont 14 without success sometime
in the spring of 1998, so it is quite likely that the visibility of flashes
varies throughout the year & with the observers location (eg. perhaps only
visible at certain latitudes). Hence, observations from different locations
would be useful to determine if the flash pattern / visibility varies with
observers latitude. 

Gorizont 14 will be visible over Europe & Africa during the next week &
will be visible from the eastern United States by the end of the month. It
takes approximately 37 days for the satellite to make one circuit of the
earth (as seen from the earths surface, the orbital period is 1474.4
minutes). Here is a recent orbital element for Gorizont 14:

Gorizont 14   
1 17969U 87040A   99256.81129258 -.00000126  00000-0  10000-3 0  7305
2 17969  10.3120  40.6742 0026990 314.5196  45.3339  0.97657373 24414

Further information on the Gorizont, Ekran & Raduga satellites can be found
on my web page:

There is also a new page on high altitude satellite orbits (with graphical
representations of orbits) that some of you may find interesting:

Best wishes & Clear skies,


Jason P Hatton
06200 Nice

43.692N, 7.246E,30M