help on an unid? (a bit long)

From: Denise Moser (
Date: Mon Sep 05 2011 - 17:53:29 UTC

  • Next message: Denise Moser: "Re: help on an unid? (a bit long)"

    I was having a little star party with my grade-school aged grand-nephews on
    the deck overlooking the Hood Canal in NW Washington State .  In the
    half-hour before bedtime (tent camping on the deck), I picked out three
    relatively bright satellites to see.  We missed the first one playing with
    the Tasco telescope on the quarter moon.  We lost the second to lights to
    the east from Seattle-Tacoma and the third one should been an easy overhead
    one, but we missed it.
    While we lamented our luck, Collin, the oldest (and most interested) looked
    up overhead and saw something going West.  It was probably about 2-3 mag, in
    the summer triangle going across the southern part of Cygnus and the
    northern part of Aquila (or south of Lyra.  We lost it as it left the summer
    triangle (it either dimmed or clouds, again).  The younges, Nathan, was
    manning the atomic clock and he reported that it was 9:27 (:30 or :40, I
    think) PST.  I couldn't find the binoculars (set under a seat on the
    deck)--though Jack (the middle one) found it by the time we lost our
    sighting.  So, I couldn't look for blinking lights to rule out a high
    airplane.  I told Colin that the about the only thing that went West was the
    Isreali military satellite, OFEQ. I checked out Heavens-Above and CalSky but
    there was nothing else going any direction overhad 4.5 mag overhead at that
    time.  I tried the 8/31 elements for it in Heavensat and it shows it in our
    low southern skies going west about 1/2 earlier but at magnitude 9.
    He asked me to check with the experts, you here on the list, that I had been
    telling him about.  So, any one with any ideas?
    If not it was still an "awesome" star party, according to Jack this morning.
     It ended at 9:30 with the brightest Iridium (-8) like a blaring headlight,
    in Pegauis that I ever saw.  A bonus was that it turned out to be a mild
    double--it was followed by a 0 mag flare from its spare, just a few seconds
    later.  And we could see both of them at 3 or so for a minute or so,
    Thanks for checking.
    Denise M.
    (usually in Kansas City, MO)
    (length and detail for printout for the kids)
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