Nice APT pass

From: Robert Holdsworth (
Date: Sat Sep 26 2009 - 08:25:53 UTC

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "Re: Nice APT pass"

    This one might have Kevin making reservations to come down here :-)
    The APT in question was 28188 from Eutelsat W3A.
    Conditions had been excellent around sunset and in accordance with Murphy's 
    law they rapidly deteriorated thereafter with cloud (and possibly Australian 
    dust!) moving in to the extent that I was debating whether to try at all.
    However fortunately I did make the attempt with cloud breaking a little just 
    between the area of culmination and shadow entry.
    The object was predicted by Calsky to culminate at 2.6 mag but  it appeared 
    much brighter than that and would have been difficult to see through cloud 
    at that mag.  I was using binoculars but in better conditions this would 
    have been an easy object for 1x, probably around 0 or -1 mag.   It could 
    almost be described as flaring!  At culmination it was due to be about the 
    same height as the ISS orbits at, and anyone who didn't know better could 
    easily have mistaken it for that in the unlikely event they were observing 
    through the clouds!   - (in fact there were no ISS passes due at the time in 
    Exact timing not taken- oops!- but was difficult enough to do any 
    observation at all, with culmination predicted at 0736 and shadow entry at 
    0738 UTC and likely this was correct.
    I think this is only about the second APT I have managed to see, missed 
    others for various reasons,  but thanks Kevin for alerting us to these 
    objects with their nice fast speed when at or near perigee.
    A Resurs 1-4 flare was predicted just after this but cloud made this 
    impossible to check on- although even in better conditions I have not so far 
    picked any up.
    Any further attempts at satellite observation were abandoned owing to the 
    poor conditions.
    Robert Holdsworth
    New Zealand
    (currently UTC plus 12, in a few hours will be UTC plus 13!) 
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