RE: Geostationary Satellite flash

From: Matson, Robert (
Date: Mon Dec 04 2000 - 13:13:56 PST

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    Hi Geoff and List,
    > Sean O'Brien of the planetarium suggested that I contact you
    > regarding an optical flash that I observed just off the NW limb
    > of the Moon at 00:28:56 Dec 03 2000 UTC. 
    > I was monitoring lunar Earthsine from Alexandria, VA, when to
    > my suprise I picked up a flash in the telescope (recorded on video)
    > It lasted over a second and ramped up, peaked, and then down in
    > brightness. As I have yet to detect any movement ... I was
    > wondering whether it could be sun-glint from a geostationary
    > satellite or some satellite in some really elliptical orbit.
    I'd say there's a very good chance that this was
    Raduga 16 (#15946, 85070A).  I don't think Raduga 16
    has been reported as a flasher, but there are many
    other in the Raduga series that ARE good flashers,
    so I'd say the probability is high.  It was in the
    right place at the right time.
    People should definitely monitor this satellite and
    get a flash period.  It is currently well-positioned for
    the entire United States, with the central and western
    U.S. favored.  --Rob
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