RE: Alternative 96038C search orbits.

Ted Molczan (
Sat, 13 Jul 1996 10:12:04 -0400

>Here are some alternative search elements for the 96038A 
>perigee-kick motor. They are based on the assumption that it achieved

I should have mentioned that the original search
orbits may still be useful. They were based on the
assumption that 96038C's mean motion would be the
same as 89061D's. The eccentricity was adjusted,
to reflect 96038C's lower perigee height.

It is important to produce a range of possible
orbits, to improve the probability of finding the 
object. As time goes on, differences in the
rate of precession wil cause the search orbits
to spread apart, making the search more difficult.

Right now, the closest observing range for N. 
hemisphere observers is about 3,500 km. If the 
object is about 2 m across, then there is a
strong probability of spotting it using 11x80
binoculars. I have learned that Daniel Karcher
has used a Comet Catcher to search for this

My observing field notes show that I observed 
Sweden's Viking satellite at a range of 3,500
km, and it is fairly small - a hat box shape,
with diameter 1.84 m. and depth 0.5. It is in
the n2l files - 86019B / 16614.

Thick cloud and haze has prevented any searching
here so far.

Ted Molczan