Re: Iridium 4 at -2 magnitude!

Alphonse POUPLIER (
Sun, 17 Aug 1997 14:59:28 +0200 (MET DST)

On aug 13 1997, I received the following message.
It was in french but I give the translation in my poor english:

" With my parents and my children, we were observing the perseids
" when we saw a very strange phenomenon.
" It was on aug 12 1997
" At 20:35 UT , everyone of us could see a yellowish sat moving
" at a speed similar to the one of MIR.
" When we saw it, it was 1 to 1.5 deg. North of eps Cas.
" It went then just over gam Cas and bet Cas.
" Then we were very surprised to see it (when it was about 10 deg.
" far of bet Cas becoming more and more bright, up to magn. -5 or -6!
" Aspect: Yellow-green. The object seemed to grow.
" Duration of that observation: About 2 seconds.
" Then it disappeared. 
" No explosion noise.
" We were at 49.72 N 5.17 E

The gentleman who sent that message is a experienced observer.

Another one said he saw the same thing at about the same place
in the sky but from Toulouse (43d37m N 1d27m E)

My identification program (in GSFC and Ted Molczan file)
IRIDIUM 6      1 24794U 97020C    Ref.Date: 1997 219.25162013 = 7 / 8 / 1997
as having exactly the described path.

I sent it to my list and Jean Etienne said:

" The Iridiums are not big satellites.
" I don't think they could have a magnitude under 6.
" Furthermore, they are stabilized and do not spin.
" But what was seen could be the lighting of the orbit correction
" engine.

As I'm abroad and very busy, I did not send it earlier to SeeSat-L

What do you think about it?

My pleasure, avec plaisir,  Alphonse
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Main coord.: Wepion (Belgium)            +50d25m27s 4d51m42s East
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