RE: Decay of 96072 B

Ted Molczan (molczan@fox.nstn.ca)
Fri, 3 Jan 1997 08:33:05 -0500

Regarding the decay of 96072B, Bjoern Gimle wrote:

>The 600km apogee suggested by Tony Beresford will be reached Jan.16

True, but due to precession, the apogee will no longer
be over Tony's latitude, so the object will be 
passing overhead below 500 km, and in the Earth's 
shadow. Only, the most southerly portion of a
a near-overhead pass, below 30 deg elev, will be 
observable.

The over-head portions of Tony's passes will dip below
600 km on 11-12 Jan.

On the other hand, there is still plenty of time to
search for 96072A, because although it's apogee too is
precessing away from the 30-40 S lat region, it would
not be decaying very rapidly. So on 16 Jan, most of
a pass would still be illuminated; and on 26 Jan,
about the first quarter of a pass will still be
observable. Assuming it will have been found by then,
it will be about time to hand-over orbital maintenance
tracking to more southerly observers - anyone know
any observers in New Zealand, S. Argentina or the
Falkland Islands?

Ted Molczan