96072A not seen on second pass

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@rogers.com)
Date: Fri Sep 13 2002 - 10:58:59 EDT

  • Next message: paul: "Re: 96072A not seen on second pass"

    As previously reported, I observed 96072A on one pass last night, 2002
    Sep 13 UTC. Not previously reported is that it did not appear when I
    attempted to observe it on my second pass.
    I attempted to intercept it at 03:21:03 UTC, about 4 s after it should
    have exited the penumbra of Earth's shadow. The predicted magnitude was
    about 6.4, and I could easily see stars to at least mag 8.
    Until this morning, I thought that I had missed it because I had used
    the wrong reference stars. I did not have much time to get pointed at
    the intercept co-ordinates because I had to wait for a small patch of
    cloud to clear the area. As the time of the intercept approached, I
    still had doubts that I was pointed at the correct stars. When the
    object failed to appear, my first reaction was that I had been pointed
    in the wrong place. 
    I waited for perhaps one minute, in case the object had made a second
    manoeuvre. I doubt that the object would have made a manoeuvre during
    the interval between my two passes that would have caused it to be more
    than about 10 s late.
    This morning, I reviewed the situation, and found that I had been
    pointed accurately.
    I now believe that the most likely explanation for the non-appearance
    was that the object may have been fainter than normal (not uncommon for
    this object), and perhaps still partly in the penumbra. My eclipse
    algorithm has proven to be fairly accurate, but it is not infallible.
    Since I do not have a solid explanation for the non-appearance, I have
    decided it best to report it, so that observers can be alert to the
    possibility; however small, that it may have manoeuvred a second time.
    Ted Molczan
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