Massive Iridium flare

Sat, 23 Aug 97 00:36:30 PDT

Iridium 5 (24795 97020D) literally detonated into a huge flare that
*easily* outshown Jupiter tonight.  The flare lasted about 8 seconds.
How such a small satellite can produce such a Mir-class flare is
hard to fathom.  The midpoint of the flare was at 04:19:40 UT 23 Aug.
Satelllite Elevation was 52, Azimuth 94
Sun Elevation -17, Azimuth 299

Venus was too low for me to see, but I'm convinced it was at least as
bright as Venus, perhaps a little brighter.  The familiar airplane landing
light comparison came to mind, it was that bright.  I could compare it
directly with Jupiter, of course, and it put ol' Jove to shame.

Also observed Iridiums 4, 6, 7, 8, but none of the passes were noteworthy.
No problem;  Hey, I'll tolerate a few yawners to see spectaculars like
the one I was fortunate enough to witness.  Keep watching those Iridiums,

 Craig Cholar    3432P@VM1.CC.NPS.NAVY.MIL
 Marina, California
 36 41 10.3N,  121 48 17.9W    (36.6862, -121.8050)      UTC -7