Superbird A search

28 Aug 1997 17:33:24 -0800

Hello again,

Some time in the next week I expect someone will recover the window of primary
flashing for Superbird A (Norad #20040).  I note that flashing was observed
Wednesday evening from Austin, Texas, by Mike McCants & Ed Cannon, but these
flashes were too dim to be attributable to the primary flash window.

I believe the flashes they saw are due to a secondary flash window that has
not yet been nailed down, though it has been observed several times
sporadically.  I am interested in establishing the coning angle of the surface
or surfaces responsible for these, so any observations of this second flash
window will be a great help.  Like the primary flash window, the secondary
window should not change much from night to night, so use Ed & Mike's
observation as a guideline.  The times for any given location will be about 1
minute later each night, with the location of peak flashes working its way
west to east across the U.S. in about 25 minutes.  Thus for Wednesday evening,
the peak of the flashes for the west coast would have been at about 3:25 UTC
(8:25pm PDT), and would have been about 3:50 UTC for the east coast (11:50pm
EDT) if the satellite hadn't already gone into the earth's shadow.

The east coast ~should~ be able to see the primary flashes.  The window is 1
minute later each night, and is predicted to be around 0:45 UTC on 8/29 (which
is 8:45 EDT on Thursday, August 28th).  Again, due to long extrapolation
errors, this time could easily be off by 20 minutes either way, so start
searching early.  Good luck!  --Rob