Geosynch marathon

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Wed Mar 13 2002 - 04:30:18 EST

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    Mike McCants and I completed a geosynch marathon just a 
    little while ago.  Mike started going after them between 8:30 
    and 9:00 p.m. local time and completed the last one at about 
    2:03 a.m.  Mike counted 60 geos -- not all flaring, including 
    a tumbling Intelsat and a Proton upper stage.  For the great 
    majority of them, Mike, using predictions from his special 
    version of Highfly that's specifically for near-shadow-entry 
    times, found them with his 203mm (8-inch) telescope and I got 
    a look also.  But I did see a few with binoculars before 
    seeing them in the scope.  I was able to see one of them, 
    apparently Echostar 4 (25331, 98-028A), without binoculars -- 
    in fact it was the brightest object in its general vicinity 
    for a few minutes.  There was one group of six (DirecTV 2 and 
    3, AMSC 1, and three others) that fit within Mike's FOV (less 
    than one degree, I believe), and there also was another group 
    of four.  I found Gorizont 23 (91-046A, 21533) flashing 
    nicely low in the east, with a period of about 53.9 seconds, 
    probably to about +5 on the brightest maxima.
    
    Earlier we did have a pretty close pair of Iridium flares,
    Iridium 28 and 94 "?", about 35 seconds apart.  Iridium 28 
    was several magnitudes brighter than the predicted zero, and 
    Iridium 94 "?" was not as bright as the predicted -1.
    
    Observing site was BCRC, 30.315N, 97.866W, 280m.  I'm too 
    tired now (after Space Shuttle yesterday morning) to do any 
    more details.
    
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
    
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