A "line" over Venus

Mark Taylor (cg1@ssnet.com)
Thu, 14 Mar 96 19:45:20 EST

I just saw the STRANGEST thing, a completely chance event...

I popped outside to take a quick eyes-only glance at Venus, and in those
few seconds that I was looking a small "something" lit up about 1/4 degree
above Venus, and about 1/4 degree to its South.  It travelled North,
dead-parallel to the horizon, until it was 1/4 degree North of Venus, and
vanished as quickly as it appeared.  It only lasted less than 1/2 second
for the 1/2 degree travel, and did not reappear anywhere else (within ~20 
seconds that I waited)  Recalling it from memory, it almost seemed to leave
a streak, but was probably persistence of vision.

The factoids are:
   Viewed from Newark, DE      ( approx 39d N by 75d W )
   Local time 7:41pm 3/14/96   ( 0041 3/15/96 UT )

Any idea what (satellite perhaps) it was that "peeked" into the sunlight
for just a moment?  It didn't remind me of a meteor, but I suppose it could
have been...  

If it was a satellite, how could it get into and out-of the sunlight by 
going South-to-North in the due-West like that?  I suppose it 
*could have* just barely slipped into the edge of the curved boundary 
just as I was looking at it, but WOW, what are the chances?

It was too awesome to really be adequately described by words...

  Mark C. Taylor       Delaware Software Architect and Backyard Astronomer
  cg1@ssnet.com                       http://www.ssnet.com/~cg1/index.html
---------end of v1.txt------------

With geographical longitude 75d W and latitude 39d N a small satellite
(Prospero, 1971-93A, #05580) was 0.9 deg *below* Venus at 00:41.0 UTC
moving with 0.4 deg/second South-North!
Since Venus was almost due West, a small shift to the West (to 75.6d W,
39d N) gives a pass 0.2 deg *above* Venus for 71-93A.

71093  A
1 05580U 71093  A 96068.12750612  .00000203  00000-0  45364-4 0  6843
2 05580  82.0454  96.3469 0592091  50.7061 314.5080 13.78712393213219

 Rainer Kracht   1996 Mar 15
 +9.6626E, +53.7695N, 9m