RE: 96 72 payload possible

Ted Molczan (
Mon, 6 Jan 1997 09:16:21 -0500

Anthony Beresford wrote:

>Ted molczan.s new predictive search ephemeris for the payload
>( USA 129) resulted in the following observation.
>From Adelaide SA (-34.97S, 138.6517E 150m ASL)
>13h 21 23.2 sec UTC RA 2h 03.5min Dec -51 deg 40min (Epoch 2000)
>mag +6.5 and steady

The obs was on 6 Jan 97 UTC. The object was about 3.5 sec early, and 
almost exactly on the predicted path. The brightness was 0.7 mag fainter 
than predicted, well within the range of uncertainty.

On the same pass, another observer saw nothing, but on the previous 
pass, the same observer saw an object close to the track, about on time.
That was an extremely low pass, so he might have seen something unrelated 
- at slant range, objects far apart in plane appear to follow the same 

The search elements are:

USA 129 search  15.0  3.0  0.0  5.1 v
1 24680U 96072  A 97 05.34099537  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    08
2 24680  97.8720  71.0700 0550000 112.3000 253.7500 14.72115144    09

Although Anthony's obs indicates the elements are accurate, we won't know 
for certain until there have been additional sightings. In the meantime, 
the apparent high precision should be treated as luck, so I recommend 
generous time allowances for the time-being.

Clear skies!