RE: CB Obs December 14, 2014: Photographic

From: Ted Molczan via Seesat-l <>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 07:56:00 -0500
Marco Langbroek responded to Cees Bassa:

> > USA-259 was fainter than the other Trumpet objects USA-184
> > [29249/06027A] and USA-200 [32706/08010A]. As I don't typically
> > observe in this part of the sky this may be due to phase angle
> > differences, but it could also be intrinsic to the satellite.
> It will for a large part be phase angle related. Also, the sat is perhaps not
> fully deployed yet.

I agree, and it reminds me of our experience with Lacrosse 5, which underwent a significant change of optical
characteristics after its first 9 days in orbit. I documented this in the following two posts, the second of which
provided a much refined analysis:

USA 259 almost certainly has at least one large antenna for gathering intelligence, which is deployed at some unknown
time after launch. Whether it has a significant effect on its optical behavior can only be determined from observations.
Peter Wakelin has reported three magnitude observations of USA 259. Many more will be required, especially during the
initial days and weeks in orbit. This is likely to be a challenge, since most of the active observers are in the
northern hemisphere, which is well into its annual cloudy season.

Ted Molczan

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Received on Mon Dec 15 2014 - 06:56:48 UTC

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