I Saw NOSS 2-3 ! (and Iridium 20 tumbler)

Alan Pickup (JRBURCA@aol.com)
Mon, 29 Jun 1998 03:40:56 EDT

A first for me, I saw NOSS 2-3, 06:48 UTC 28 June 1998 UTC date 
(27 June local).  I was using my 7x35 binoculars.  I did not manage
to spot them until just a few seconds before transition into shadow
and only saw 2 of the three objects, apparently (with the experience
of my second observation) the two trailing objects.

Tonight, with an earlier and higher pass, with more time before shadow
entry, I got out my 8x56 Orion Mini-Giants.  This means I'm serious :-).
I used the NOSS 2-3 (C) (#23908) as the object for STS Plus to track.
It was to culminate at 06:04:02 UTC 29 June 1998 (28 June local) at
az. 59 elev. 79.  I kept scanning around for them and probably near or
just past culmination, spotted them.  This time, I saw all 3 objects and
watched them until shadow entry around 06:05:30 UTC.  The distance
between the leading object and the two trailing ones was about three 
times the distance between the two trailing ones.  All three easily fit 
into the field of view of the binoculars. 

After NOSS 2-3 went into shadow, I caught Seasat (#10976) as it headed
into the northern sky. 

Earlier, I watched Iridium 20 (#24871), finding it naked eye past culmination
(N-S) with a few minus magnitude flashes.  Then with 7x35 binoculars, it
seemed to flash (surely invisible to the unaided eye) about every half 
second, giving me the impression that it must be tumbling rather fast.  Still
watching with binoculars, some more bright flashes as it was low in the SSW.
This was at 03:57 UTC 29 June 1998 (28 June local).

Watched HST (#20580) make a 40 degree culmination pass at 05:06 UTC.

The sky was hazy and light polluted.  I guess I'm a little proud to be able
to spot NOSS 2-3 in spite of that, with the help of binoculars, a tracking
program and the Molczan.tle file.  Next, I need to try for TiPS, which I've
never seen.

Earlier tonight, I had attempted to see the flashing tumblers Spot 3 (#
22823) and NOAA 7 (#12553) but failed to spot Spot 3 or see NOAA 7.
I have seen them on previous nights.

Thanks especially to those on this list who help in determining what may
be interesting to look for; Ed Cannon, Don Gardner, Craig Cholar come
to mind most easily but of course, there are more.

-- Jake Rees
   Burbank, California, USA
   (34.164 N, 118.341 W)