I corresponded with Greg Granville, whose posting to "sci.astro.amateur" is attached below, with his permission. He believes that they did not even arrive at their observing site until 8PM EST, so we should rule out satellites that would have been near the Trapezium before that. So, it appears that the most likely Suspect is #21019, Blok-DM2, a dead geosynchronous satellite that would have been just north of the Trapezium at 20:18. If this supposition is correct, then observers in the northeastern U.S. might see it flash nightly at approximately that time (01:18 UT). Here in California, it is not yet dark at that time. Because Blok-DM2 is drifting westward at about .84 degrees per day, that approximates the sidereal rate such that it will line up with the same stars at the same time daily (i.e., the stars appear to drift westward one degree per day, if viewed at a particular time). So it will still be seen near the Trapezium. (IF it flashes!) -- Robert Sheaffer - firstname.lastname@example.org - Skeptical to the Max! my new GPS tells me I'm at 37 deg 17.3' N., 121 deg 59.2' west (San Jose, CA) Visit my Home Page - http://www.debunker.com/~sheaffer Skeptical Resources Debunking All Manner of Bogus Claims Also: Opera / Astronomy / Mens Issues / more - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From: email@example.com (Greg Granville) Newsgroups: sci.astro.amateur Subject: Flasher ? was Re: Saw a geosynchronous satellite -- but which one? Date: Mon, 10 Feb 1997 17:34:21 GMT Organization: Applied Research Lab - PSU >Last Friday night, January 31, I was at French Camp Mississippi >observing with friends from the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society and >SLO from Memphis when I finally got to see something I had long hoped >to come across. While looking at the Trapezium in Orion at 450 x with >my 25" Obsession, somethin drifted across the field of view. It >looked like a normal satellite except for two things -- it was moving >too slowly and it was late at night for a satellite. I followed the >object for about 15 minutes with the hand paddle on my drive trying to >figure out what it could be. By this time Jim Hill who runs the >French Camp observatory complex had come over to look. I realized >that I might have happened across a geosynchronous satellite. It is >much higher above the earth so spends much more time in sulight and >orbits the earth much more slowly (in angular terms). [snip...] >Neat! Hope this isn't the last one I see. Does anyone have or know >of a program for determining which satellite it was? The time was >about 10:15 PM Central Standard Time on January 31, 1997. Matthew >Collier with the B.R.A.S. had a GPS box and read out our earthly >coordinates as N 33d 17m 15.1s W 89d 23m 05.1s. The satellite >passed within 6 or 7 arc minutes north of the trapezium which Megstar >tells me is at 5h 35m 16s and -5d 23m 22s Epoch 2000. The magnitude >was about 12m but this is an estimate from memory and could be off by >a magnitude or two. This thread was pointed out to me by a friend, because we saw something very interesting last night that we concluded was a geosync satellite of some kind. I was also staring at the trapezium last night, with a 6" dob @ approx 50x. Out of nowhere I saw this bright flash (about mag 1) - perhaps 20' north of the trapezium.My first comment to my friends was - wow! I just saw a gamma ray burster :-) Obviuosly, that was kind of silly, but I continued to examine the trapezium when a short time later I saw another flash! After a short time I saw yet another. By now, my friends were eager to get a look, and within a few minutes, all three of us had seen it, both in the 6" and in a pair of binoculars. I got the impression that it was moving very slowly to the east, and began to suspect a geosync satellite. If this were the case, then perhaps the flashes were being caused by a slow rotation of the satellite and sun glinting off of it's solar panels or other surface. One of my friends got the idea to time the flashes, and after a few measurements, we came up with ~39 seconds between each flash. We eventually realized that if the object was geosyncronus, then we should not have to move the scope to track it. We were trying to verify that the object was indeed perfectly stationary when it stopped flashing. Perhaps we lost the angle that was allowing us to see the solar reflection. We didn't think to check the exact time that the object flashed in any specific location, but it was somewhere around 8PM EST. Our location was about 40 deg 44' north, and 77 deg 56' west. Perhaps this was the same satellite that you saw?