Mid-city observations -- without magnification

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 22:47:51 EST

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    Below are the objects I've seen *without* magnification the last two 
    nights from outside the building where I work, on the campus of the 
    University of Texas at Austin (30.286N, 97.739W, 150m), which is in 
    the middle of the city.  (In the winter, given my work schedule, on 
    weeknights I can't get to a better observing site in time to see 
    Obviously this is not an awfully bright city center, and these were 
    moonless evenings with a very clear sky, so the limiting magnitude 
    may be about +4.0.  But I was on a pedestrian bridge above a street, 
    with streetlights and walkway lights, some passing vehicle lights, 
    the brightly illuminated UT Austin tower, white building walls, 
    etc.,  nearby.  So perhaps they may serve for newcomers to satellite 
    observing as a fair example of what can be seen just for fun from an 
    urban setting on a very good evening.  Given similar conditions, one 
    can show objects like these to family, friends, neighbors, or even
    passers-by.  On each of these evenings, I possibly missed one or two 
    that I might have seen if I had not been paying close attention to 
    another one.  Add a pair of binoculars or observe without 
    magnification from a dark site on a moonless night, and these 
    numbers can be doubled (tripled?) easily.  (Maybe I should get a 
    pair of binoculars to use on campus....)  Monday evening I also saw 
    two meteors (one about +2, one about +3.5) while observing these 
    The observations are in chronological order.  Where I say "with 
    such-and-such", I mean that they were in the sky at the same time, 
    not necessarily that I could see them both at once.
    2002 Jan 08 UTC (Monday PM Jan 7 CST)
     1. 00694 63-047A Atlas Centaur 2 -- very slow, bright tumbler
     2. 25727 99-024A Orion 3 -- bright multi-flash maxima
     3. 12069 80-087B FleetSatCom 4 Rk -- nice tumbler
     4. 25510 98-061C SedSat/DS-1 Rk
     5. 21701 91-063B UARS (with UNID close by, probably 04119)
     6. 04119 69-084A Meteor 1-2 (probably; was UNID close to UARS)
     7. 08520 75-124B Meteor 1-23 Rk
     8. 22566 93-016B Cosmos 2237 Rk
     9. 25063 97-074A TRMM
    10. 13007 81-119B Intelsat 503 Rk -- nice tumbler
    11. 25469 98-051C Iridium 80 -- solar panel and MMA flares
    2002 Jan 09 UTC (Tuesday PM Jan 8 CST)
     1. 25727 99-024A Orion 3 -- bright multi-flash maxima
     2. 22566 93-016B Cosmos 2237 Rk (with 00694)
     3. 00694 63-047A Atlas Centaur 2 (with 22566 and 13272)
     4. 13272 82-059B Cosmos 1378 Rk (with 00694)
     5. 21701 91-063B UARS
     6. 23088 94-023B Cosmos 2278 Rk (with 11511)
     7. 11511 79-078B Cosmos 1125 Rk (with 23088)
     8. 20390 89-100B Cosmos 2053 Rk
     9. 25338 98-030A NOAA 15 -- flare a few seconds
    10. 25468 98-051B Iridium 81 -- solar panel and MMA flares
    11. 18586 87-098B Cosmos 1898 Rk
    12. 06155 72-065B OAO 3 Rk -- mag. +1 maximum (unusually bright)
    13. 12069 80-087B FleetSatCom 4 Rk -- nice tumbler
    14. 24871 97-034C Iridium 920 -- a *bunch* of flashes, low in west
    I hope in a while -- with binoculars, at least -- to see Intelsat 
    512 (16101, 85-087A), a brightly flashing drifting geosynch like
    Superbird A, and possibly another one or two.
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
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