Re: Observation USA 32

Mike McCants (mike@comshare.com)
Tue, 14 Jan 1997 12:52:34 -0600

This rather crytic message from Lutz Schindler contains two
positional observations of USA 32 (88 78A) in "fit.elem" format:

>   52.3270  -10.5479      263.    Lutz Schindler

This is his lat/long (with negative longitude east in my
backwards system).

>USA 32           6.0  3.0  0.0  5.3 d
>1 19460U 88078  A 96291.19856563  .00000040  00000-0  15184-4 0    01
>2 19460  84.9845 276.5738 0004000 135.6280 224.3718 14.31142532    00

These are the current elements (90 days old).  Since USA 32 is in
an 85 degree inclination orbit, it is visible only at long intervals
from the northern hemisphere in winter.

>  1 97  1 14 17 13 19.2   6 16.4  24.03 2000
>  1 97  1 14 17 14 52.5   5 22.8   3.47 2000

Positional observation: 1997 Jan 14 at 17:13:19.2 UT, RA 6Hr 16.4Min,
Dec +24.03 degrees, coordinates epoch 2000.

Thanks Lutz for your observations.  After 90 days, USA 32 was only
about 6 seconds early.  I have adjusted the drag term and mean motion
slightly to give the following updated elements:

USA 32        
1 19460U 88078  A 97 14.69263694 0.00000050  00000-0  18977-4 0    01
2 19460  84.9845 224.8022 0004000 210.6672 149.3327 14.31151803    04

USA 32 is "pretty" since it usually "sparkles" from multiple specular
reflections at a rate of once or twice a second.  I often see bright
flashes at magnitude 2 or 3 for about 5 seconds when USA 32 or USA 81
passes by at a "critical" sun-satellite-observer angle.  This is
a little south of the east-west line from my latitude of +30 degrees.

"fit.elem" is available (for analyzing positional observations of
USA 32 or USA 129 or ...) in my ftp area.

URL: http://www.fc.net/~mikem/

Mike McCants
mikem@fc.net