Gorizont 14

grc@spica.usno.navy.mil
Wed, 17 Feb 99 11:33:00 -0500

Well, I never thought I'd be looking at a geosynch bird from my front yard with
all the streetlights, etc. that the city has seen fit to install in my rather
quiet neighborhood, but acting on the recent flurry of positive reports of
Gorizont 14 sightings I decided to set up my 8-inch Dob and give it a whirl
since the air was mild and the forecast clouds hadn't yet appeared.

Using Mike McCants' HighFly and a star chart, I plotted out the path of Gorizont
for a 15 minute "window" and went to work.  Almost immediately I found it in my
9X63 binoculars, and soon I had it in the Dob.  This was a real treat to
observe, since I barely had to nudge the 'scope over the next 90 minutes of
observation.

When I first located it, Gorizont was just SW of 8 Monocerotis at aroind 0145
UT.  It flashed to a comparable brightness with the star, about mag. 4.3, in the
binocular field.  About 2 flashes later I picked it up in the telescope, then
began a series of timings.  The first series timed 9 flashes over 12m 42s, the
second 8 flashes over 11m 17s, from which I derive a period of 1m 24.6s.  During
the first series I happened to notice a secondary flash to about 9th magnitude. 
Timing these flashes in the second set yielded the same flash period, with the
secondary flashes occurring 42.3 seconds after the peak of the primary flashes. 
The primary flashes had a very noticeable golden color, while the secondary
flashes were distinctly bluish.  To cap off the evening, at 0311 UT it passed
about 20' south of Procyon.

This is an easy target for those of us stuck in urban locations.  I'd like to
thank Mike McCants and Ed Cannon for first putting me on to this one during that
frosty session at Canyon of the Eagles back in January...

Cheers,
Geoff

+=========================================================================+
| Geoff Chester      grc@spica.usno.navy.mil       Public  Affairs Office |
|                   http://www.usno.navy.mil         US Naval Observatory |
| (202) 762-1438                            3450 Massachusetts Avenue, NW |
| (202) 762-1489 (FAX)                              Washington, DC  20392 |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| "Each passing hour brings the Solar System 43,000 miles closer to the   |
| globular cluster M13 in Hercules; yet there are still some misfits who  |
| insist there's no such thing as progress!"     --    Ransom K. Fern     |
+=========================================================================+