unidentified object eastern USA daytime

From: Robert Preston <rapr_at_med.pitt.edu>
Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 15:50:43 -0400

I'm new to satellites, so beware. On Saturday, 6 July 95, during daytime
demonstrations of telescopes by a group of amateurs for the national astro.
day, at 3:50 PM EDT plus or minus 2 minutes, (19:50 UT), several of us
witnessed a star-like object at low power in a 25 cm newtonian telescope. It was
moving roughly from 45 degrees elevation in an eastward direction (plus or
minus 30 degrees azimuth) down toward the eastern horizon, at a rate that
seemed somewhat slower than a low-earth-orbit object such as Mir. I guess
that it was
somewhat fainter in magnitude than Venus was in that telescope, possibly by one
or two magnitudes. While I was viewing it through the scope, it appeared to
suddenly drop in brightness by about a magnitude, and then immediately I saw
it had become two objects on parallel paths, slightly separated, with one of
the objects distinctly pink, or reddish, in color. I tried to get a second
observer to confirm the color, but we lost the object at that point. I don't
know if the parallel paths continued to diverge or not. The viewing location
is Pittsburgh, at 80 deg w long, 40 deg N lat.

It seems this would not have been a re-entering satellite, since it was going
too slow? Might it have been some sort of weather balloon reflecting the sun?
The magnification of the scope was about 50x, and there was no detectable
breadth to the object: it was a bright point, then two points. Three of us
saw the single point version in the scope, and there is no question in my mind
that it split up.

Robert A. Preston
Pittsburgh, PA
vox 412-361-8905
Received on Thu May 11 1995 - 15:16:36 UTC

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