Re: Pre-solstice spysat launches: why?

Anthony Beresford (
Mon, 30 Dec 1996 12:49:06 +1030 (CST)

At 08:34 AM 12/29/96 -0800, you wrote:
>   I certainly don't know of any case in which a polar Vandenberg 
>   launch near the northern winter solstice has been spotted by other 
>   than a northern hemisphere observer the following Spring.
Allen, this gives me a good chance to say to SeeSat_l at large that
I have been following such an object since  Dec 24, 1996.
Having finished all the pre-christmas things I thought I would
have a naked eye watch for the results of the Titan launch.
So I set up a chair in a part of the backyard shaded from
streetlighting and the Moon, and just looked with naked eye
towards the South East and South parts of the sky. My patience
was rewarded at about 1253UT as I observed this mag 3 satellite
coming up from the South and passing overhead at 1254UT. It went
into shadow at about 1255UT at 50 degrees elevation about 30 degrees W
of North. It had to be a high object, as at the solar zenith
angle of 116 degrees the shadow height is 712Km. 
Dec25 Night was cloudy , but it has been clear every night since,
and I have observed it every night, its gets to mag 2.5-2.0
at overhead. I had no stopwatch with my dec 24, so timing approximate.
Dec 24  overhead 1254, first seen 1253
Dec 26  12h 56m 17s ra 4h 21m dec -58.5 ( naked eye)
dec 27  overhead at 1251UT [stopwatch trouble!!]
dec 28  12h 46m 13.8s UT ra 6h 10.0m dec -55d 05min
dec 29  1238UT RA 7h 08.0 min dec -49deg 12min [ stopwatch trouble!!]

observations from Adelaide So. Australia Cospar site 8597 34.96S, 138.66E
Tony Beresford