85-79B & a few other flashers

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Thu, 15 Jul 1999 03:54:25 -0500

Finally after weeks it seems, Wednesday evening (early 
15 July UTC) was a nice night.  So Mike McCants and I got 
to visit the BCRC observing site (30.334 N, 97.866 W, 
280 m) for the first time in a while.  The electronic 
gate even worked when we arrived AND when we left!  

Anyway, I was watching 85-79B (16012, Cosmos 1680 Rk) 
flashing, and I was saying, "Flash ... flash ... flash."  
And Mike asked which one it was, and when I told him, and 
he said he didn't think it was supposed to be tumbling 
that rapidly.  I had forgotten to take my stopwatch, but 
anyway its tumble period was just over 14 seconds.

Later I watched a one-power pass of 94-80B (DFH-3 Rk, 23416).
In binoculars its tumbling was very complex.  I don't know
how well I could have timed it even if I'd had my stopwatch!

Mike recovered 99001, a flashing near-geosynch that circles
the globe about every two months.

Iridium 44 (97-77B, 25078) did a stupendous flash (brighter
than Venus, possibly -6) within about 1/4 degree of Alcor 
and Mizar.  It had done a mere -2 flash some seconds earlier, 
very near eta UMa (the end of Big Dipper's handle).

NOAA 7 (12553, 81-59A) did some one-power flashes soon after 
exiting the Earth's shadow.  SPOT 3 (22823, 93-61A) did a
number of one-power flashes also.

The first object I saw for the evening was MOS 1-B (17527, 
87-18A) which sometimes does very bright flashes, but this
time it was just tumbling in the binocular field.  Feng Yun 
1C Rk (25732, 99-25C) is still tumbling.

Iridium 75 (25346, 98-32E) flared to about -2 as predicted 
by Iridflar, so it's not a flasher.

I guess due to it being a very good night, I happened upon
two or three faint objects for which I had no predictions.
That always adds to the enjoyment.

Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA