re: Foton r decay

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:01:48 -0400 (EDT)

I am sorry I cannot confirm Mike DiMuzio's sighting. 
I am also sorry I cannot thoroughly debunk it either. 
I had expected the pass around 1:36 (about a minute later than I had 
previously expected to expect it).  I looked to the southwest into a clear 
sky and don't think I could have missed a mag -4 streaker.  I didn't see 
anything consistent with a re-entry, tho I was interrupted by an untimely 
phone call before I was done observing, I think about 1:38 or 1:39.  This 
time is based on my own recollection and also, to a lesser degree, on my 
caller's recollection that he stopped observing at 1:36 and it took him a 
copule of minutes to walk inside, find my phone number, and call me.  I 
spent a good bit of time watching an airplane which had appeared at a 
plausible position, but did not move much; so at least I was looking out 
in the right direction, even if somewhat distracted.  I had pretty much 
concluded I had probably missed it when the phone rang, and based on that 
tentative conclusion, decided to answer it.  Had I not received the phone 
call, I would have paid more attention to recording the circumstances of a 
negative OBS.  I could kick myself now.  This sort of mistake just 
emphasizes the importance, oft noted by me, of recording the data 
accurately.  Even the negative data. 
Since it is so very easy to confuse objects in a dark sky, I am suspicious 
he may have seen an airplane; and that the object splashed prior to 
reaching us, or that it was invisible within the shadow and made it most 
of the way around again.  Old-timers in SeeSat-L may recall my efforts 
over the years to sharpen my own satellite/airplane discriminator and my 
lamentations that it is so darn tricky.  Part of the problem here is that, 
once you see something fairly consistent, it tends to exert a very strong 
claim on your attention. 
Mike, do you think the trajectory you noted is consistent with an object 
of inclination 62 degrees?  Or perhaps one with a lower inclination? 
Walter Nissen          
-81.8637, 41.3735, 256m elevation 
Did you know?: 
Topex = 22076 = 92-52A is usually not particularly bright, but having a 
smooth, reflective bottom surface, sometimes becomes quite bright when at a 
"highly unfavorable" phase angle?  Look for faint passes above the Sun.