Updated 96972B elements - 17 Jan

Ted Molczan (molczan@fox.nstn.ca)
Fri, 17 Jan 1997 11:46:49 -0500

The following orbit fits Greg Roberts' obs of 15 and 16 Jan very 
well:

USA 129 r        9.8  3.0  0.0  3.0 v
1 24681U 96072  B 97 17.15133102  .01330000  00000-0  27479-3 0    07
2 24681  97.8480  84.5900 0367600  69.0000 294.5500 15.56077282    00

One concern I have is that Greg's 16 Jan point is predicted to be 
several seconds (time) into the Earth's shadow - well into the penumbra, 
and probably very close to the umbra.

My shadow entry algorithm generally has proven to be accurate, but 
it is by no means perfect, so I do not wish to put too much emphasis on 
this issue. However, given the uncertainty in the eccentricity and 
argument of perigee, plus imperfect shadow-entry routines, I recommend 
that observers stay as far away from the shadow as possible. I know that 
will be very difficult now, since so little of the orbit remains 
illuminated at 31 S - 38 S latitude.

Clear skies and good horizons!
Ted