high satellites

richard.keen@filebank.com
Tue, 07 Jan 97 16:36:01

                                          
 Hi y'all -
 I observed two high-flying satellites - both rocket bodies, I presume
- last night with my 32-cm reflector at 105x.  The first was Intelsat
5-2 rk, which was magnitude 9 most of the time but flashing to mag. 7
with a period of very approximately 20 seconds (estimated; I did not
time it).  The second object was Interbol-2 (F), which from its
brightness I presume is a rocket body.  Even at a range of 11696 miles,
it was a steady magnitude 10.  That is 3.3 magnitudes brighter than the
dimension-based standard magnitude of this object, 6.8.  Sure was a
pretty sight, gliding slowly through the stellar background.
 Here's an edited and abbreviated Quicksat output (distances are in
statute miles):
 
 Jan 7  Tue  UT  044 1330
  H M  Al AziC Dir  Mag   Hgt  Shd   Rng  R A  Dec  Name
 0528  52 216C 274  9.3  7136 4663  7716  4 8  6.5  Intelsat 5-2R
 0547  70  47C  79 13.3 11517 6609 11696  727 51.1  Interbol-2 F
 
 Here's the input data from my Quicksat magnitude file:
 12445   80 98B    Intelsat 5-2R   3.5  8.6 3.0 0.0 2.1
 24296   96 50F    Interbol-2 F    6.8  2.0 0.0 0.0
 
 Finally, here's the elements for Interbol-2 F; the object was about
two minutes early relative to the predictions based on these elements -
that seems like a large error for such a high and slow object with
elements only a month old.
 
 96050F           2.0  0.0  0.0  6.8 d
 1 24296U 96050  F 96331.18684250 -.00000166  00000-0 -14516-2 0   398
 2 24296  62.7955 335.9904 5622504 290.0420  19.6370  4.15037288  3695
 
 Cheers, Rich Keen, Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado, U.S.A. 
 richard.keen@filebank.com
 39.877N, 105.391W, elevation 2728m