RE: NROL-23 launched

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Thu Feb 03 2005 - 05:27:42 EST

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    Robert Holdsworth reported:
    > At 0855 UTC (not timed to the exact second as I was did not 
    > want to take my eyes off it for a second!) in a clear
    > Souitheastern sky I observed  through binoculars a diffuse
    > bright green glow, roughly triangular but elongated in 
    > shape and which faded to a white colour then dissipated by 
    > about 0857  It moved slowly in an easterly direction with a
    > slight swing to the north. 
    > Hard to estimate magnitude with such a diffuse object, but I 
    > would guess that it got at least to mag 2, and at peak was 
    > visible without assistance.
    > This corresponds exactly to the timing and orientation of 
    > MES-2 from the 
    > NROL launch, which is what I was looking out for, though I 
    > had thought it 
    > might be too low and too far to the east to be visible.
    > Estimated position around RA 11h 40m to RA 12: 50 and Dec 34 44.
    Are you certain the Dec was +34:40 and not -34:40?
    Seems very likely that you saw the MES2 burn, which was predicted to pass near
    RA 12:50 Dec -34:40 at the time and site of your observation. Congratulations!
    Can you estimate the observed elevation above the horizon at the time of the
    Ted Molczan
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