Iridiums 49 and 24

Ed Cannon (
Sun, 29 Mar 1998 01:55:54 -0600

Okay, I'm beginning to wonder what's going on.  There was a 
prediction for -8 flare from Iridium 49 (25108, 97-82E) for 
Austin (while Mike, Sue, and I were at the Saturday evening 
installment of the star party at Pedernales Falls State Park).  
I've heard one report that in town at a specific location 
with the -8 prediction, it was "not very bright."  What's 
more, at the park, it brightened *three* times, although none 
seemed to me to be as bright as the predicted mag. 0.  The 
third brightening was 40 seconds after the predicted peak; I 
didn't get times for the first two.

About Iridium 24, in view of the photo that Jeff pointed out, 
I'm quite puzzled.  Its most recent elements have its mean 
motion as the slowest of all and its eccentricity as one of 
the most circular; however, they have not been updated in over 
four days.  Maybe we just got a bad combination of orientation
errors with 24 Friday night and with 49 Saturday night...?

Ed Cannon
Austin, Texas, USA