Ed Cannon discovers another geosync flasher!

Mike McCants (mikem@freeside.fc.net)
Fri, 31 Jul 1998 14:11:16 -0500 (CDT)

Last night Ed Cannon spotted a geosync flasher about altitude 36,
azimuth 238 (as seen from Austin, Tx).  It flashed to about
magnitude 3 every 46.0 seconds from 04:40 to 04:45 UT (July 31)
and then gradually decreased in brightness to about magnitude 9
by 05:10UT.

Multiple secondary brightenings were seen almost (but not exactly)
1/2 way between the primary flashes.  These started out about
5th magnitude and decreased to about 10th magnitude.  It is assumed
that these brightenings are caused by reflection from the solar
panels onto the main body of the spacecraft.

Two positions were obtained and the following elset was fitted
to them:

    1
   30.3138   97.8661      920.    Bee Caves Rsrch Ctr
New Unk       
1 98002U          98211.70207519  .00000000  00000-0  00000+0 0    03
2 98002   5.0000  65.1003 0001000 253.3126 106.6874  1.00270000    06
  1 98  7 31  4 51 52.0  16  0.2  -4.76 1950
  1 98  7 31  5  6 17.0  16 14.0  -5.10 1950

The mean motion, 1.0027, was assumed to be geosynchronous - it
could not be derived from the observations.  If it is wrong, the
object could be 1 or 2 degree east or west of this position tonight.

These observations do not match any known object.

----

The Molniya flasher, 81-2A, was observed for the 6th night in a row.
It has only gradually changed its time of brightest flashes (3 minutes
early each night?).  It was brightest about 04:25UT last night.
Paul Maley wrote that he was able to obtain video of it last night.

Mike McCants
Austin, Tx