Re: USA 193, ISS, and mystery flasher

From: Matt Bartley (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2008 - 08:13:05 UTC

  • Next message: Marco Langbroek: "Re: Observing USA 193 - tips for beginners"

    On Feb 15, 2008, at 9:44 PM, Ted Molczan wrote:
    > Thank you for your observation.
    > Unfortunately, the object you observed was not USA 193. You saw the  
    > 2nd stage of
    > the Delta rocket that launched the Meteosat 1 weather satellite in  
    > 1977 (77108B
    > / 10490). Predicted magnitude was 5.3 +/- 2, much fainter than USA  
    > 193, as you
    > noted. 
    Wow, with such different orbital inclinations, too.  I'm surprised  
    the movement across the sky looked anywhere near the direction I was  
    expecting. It even seemed to enter shadow about where predicted.   
    Maybe it was the limited area of sky I was looking?   There are very  
    few identifiable background stars visible elsewhere.
    > The prediction uncertainty of USA 193 was 1 to 2 min, so an object  
    > running 5 min
    > early would have been doubtful. There is a lot of junk in orbit.
    I didn't notice anything else later, though I was only looking naked- 
    eye at that point.
    > You have good passes on the next few nights, should you wish to try  
    > again.
    I will.  It will be almost directly overhead too, but with a bright  
    >> Also while looking out for USA 193, my father saw a flashing
    >> object which I never was able to find myself.  Our best
    >> estimates are that it was about 2 degrees west of Rigel, that
    >> it flashed three times, about 2 or 3 seconds between flashes,
    >> moving east roughly 1/4 degree between flashes, and no
    >> noticeable color.  Any idea what that was?
    > So far, it remains unidentified. Do you recall how many minutes  
    > earlier it was
    > than your obs of 77108B?
    Sorry, I forgot to post the time.  It was roughly 02:28 UTC.
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