Iridium flare seen in England

Ron Lee (
Mon, 01 Sep 1997 15:40:21

Just saw this in the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup:

Last night (26 Aug 197) at 21.22 UTC I saw something I couldn't identify,
and I wonder if anyone has a clue. There was a bright object at about the
southeast border of Cassiopeia. Over a space of a few seconds it grew
brighter to about mag -5 to -6 (although I'm *hopeless* at estimating
magnitudes) -- it was quite a bit brighter than Venus at its brightest. It
then rapidly faded beyond naked eye visibility over a period of, say, 15
seconds. It was as it was fading that I saw that it was moving slowly
southeast. The direction was suggestive of a polar orbit satellite, but the
speed was much slower that other polar orbit satellites I have seen. To the
naked eye there was no sign of any ionisation trail that I have observed
with bright meteors. There was no discernible aircraft noise.

My location was approx 51 deg 30' N, 2 deg 20' W.

Any (sensible) ideas, anybody?

Steve South

in the almost standard format   :)

                 Sat    Sat     Sun    Flare   Obs    Sun Phase     NORAD #
   UT            Dir  AZ  EL   AZ  EL   Dur  Mag      UT     Pass Az/El
21:22    08/26/97  S  056 31  315 -18   15   -4   SS   0  Unk  75 31  24837

Ron Lee

Makes you wonder if we will hear UFO reports because of the Iridium flares.