More on 2000 SG344 vs. J002E3

From: Matson, Robert (
Date: Mon Sep 23 2002 - 15:44:51 EDT

  • Next message: Matson, Robert: "RE: More on 2000 SG344 vs. J002E3"

    More on the 2000 SG344 & J002E3 controversy.  I dug up the
    following old link on 2000 SG344.  Link still works:
    I don't believe they were able to measure any IR colorimetry
    data on 2000 SG344 before it moved out of range.  Back in
    November 2000, Seesat member Ralph McConahy informed me that
    they attempted to radar it from Arecibo but got no returns.
    Another Seesat member, Mike Waterman, actually observed the
    Apollo 12 3rd stage in question on Nov. 14th, 1969, from
    20:42 - 20:56 UT (as well as its fuel dump).  This is what
    he wrote:
    "Some of the time only the fuel was visible.  At 2043 the
    rocket was flashing max mag 8, period 2.5s.  The range was
    29000 km.  I do not have RA/dec at 2043, but it would only
    move a few degrees until 2057 when RA=20:09 Dec=8.6 (epoch
    1950).  At 2055 it was flashing max mag 9.
    Site = COSPAR 2428 = 51.3136N -0.7417E."
    He used his measurement to compute a standard magnitude of
    +0.2, and I came up with the same value.  The photometry
    and phase geometry of 2000 SG344 corresponded to a standard
    magnitude of 2.0, assuming it was a lambertian sphere or a
    lambertian cylinder viewed broadside.  If 2000 SG344 was indeed
    the Apollo 12 upper stage, then it's probable that its
    orientation was not "broadside" as seen from earth, which
    would result in a dimmer computed standard magnitude.  So
    the difference between Mike's measurement of +0.2 and the +2.0
    computed for 2000 SG344 is well within the envelop of a
    match, especially when you factor in 30 years of degradation
    in the reflectivity of the paint.
    So the $64,000 question is:  If J002E3 is really the Apollo 12
    3rd stage, then is there anything else manmade and unaccounted
    for that is bright enough to be a match to 2000 SG344?  If not,
    then it must be an asteroid, in an orbit very similar to that
    of the earth.  --Rob
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