Re: Iridium 4 at -2 magnitude!

J. Donald Gardner (fn470@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Sat, 16 Aug 1997 12:04:08 -0400 (EDT)

Reply to message from bkh@chem.QueensU.CA of Sat, 16 Aug
>Observation date:  1997 08 15  UT
>Observation Location: 44.2357N   76.5113W   98 metres
>I was observing on Thursday evening when my attention was drawn to a very 
>bright object in the northeast.  It is difficult to give a reasonable 
>estimate of the brightness but it was much brighter than Jupiter.  The 
>magnitidude -2 is only  a guess for 'WOW that's bright'.  It stayed very 


>Has anyone else seen such brightness from an Iridium?   I think so.

Forgive me for being sketchy on the details - my observation notes are 
at a remote location at the moment.

On the evening of 8 Aug 1997 at about 22:20 EDT (9 Aug, 02:20 UTC) I saw
a -1 or -2 mag flare from the east at about a 40 deg elevation.  I ran
the alldat.tle file to identify it and the only thing that was close was
an Iridium - I think it was Iridium 6 or 7.  It was traveling left to 
right (which I perceived to be unusual because on the 2 occasions that
I saw a DMSP sat flare it was traveling right to left or into a setting sun).
I suppose it probably doesn't make a difference - it must be a reflection
from the solar panels.  

I observed another flare last evening.  I'll post the details when I 
retrieve my notes but it was a satellite (as opposed to a R/B or debris)
and it flared twice to a mag 0 before returning to a mag 3.5.  It was 
definitely not a cycling flash.

Don Gardner
Homepage -
76.8419 W, 39.1796 N, 37m ASL