Can Helios 1 B flare/flash?

From: Edward S Light (
Date: Mon Jun 06 2005 - 08:37:11 EDT

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    This morning, as I was leaving for work, I saw a bright "flashing/
    flaring" object moving slowly from above Ursa Major's handle to
    Corona Borealis.  It "flared" several times to magnitude +2 or
    brighter (i.e. at least as bright as eta UMa and alpha CrB), such
    events being "several seconds" apart.  (In between the brightenings,
    it was invisible to my un-dark-adapted naked eyes in a very hazy sky.)
    Rough estimates of apparent positions (dates/times are UTC 2005 June 06):
      UTC    Alt  Azim  Place
    07:34.6   40   311  Above eta UMa (Alkaid)
    07:35.6   41   275  Just above alpha CrB (Alphecca)
    The only satellite I could find which matches the rough positions and
    direction of motion was 25977 = 94-064A = Helios 1 B.  I saw this object
    (25977) one other pass (2005 Jun 01/07:18 UTC) when it was considerably
    higher in the W - SW sky and then it was between 4 and 5th magnitude
    with no hint of "flashing".  
    Has anyone noticed this Helios flashing/flaring in the past?  Or might
    anyone suggest a different identification?
    Clear and dark skies!
       Ed Light
    Lakewood, NJ, USA
    8840, N 40.1075, W 074.2312, +24 m (80 ft)
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