GRO -- two flares; other good ones also

Ed Cannon (
Mon, 29 Sep 1997 02:49:01 -0400

Sunday, 28/Sep/97, PM (29/Sep/97 AM UTC).  Nice night.  Location was 
Mt. Bonnell park, Austin, Texas; approx. 30.32N, 97.77W, 250m.

GRO (91-27B, 21225) was spectacular here Sunday evening!  It was bright 
but relatively normal (+1 or so) through its culmination at 00:57:24
(solar elev. = -9 deg.).  After that it flared to at least -1 for about 
2 seconds at about 00:58:08 UTC.  Then after dropping back to normal, 
it brightened again and flared to at least -2 for about 3 or 4 seconds 
at about 00:59:00 UTC!  Wow!

Nine minutes before that, with the help of two other bystanders I was
able to spot Lacrosse 2 Rk (91-17B, 21148) at about 00:49:30 (solar 
altitude/elevation was -7 deg.) after its zenith culmination.  The 
predicted mag. was about right, between +1 and +2.

I'm not sure what object #24930 (97-48F) is, but it's bright!  (OIG 
report for week 36 says it's a Dummy Mass Debris; most recent elset, 
from select.tle, says Long March 2 r...)  It reached at least mag. +1 
if not brighter.  Culmination was at 01:03:03 UTC; solar elev. was 
about -10 degrees.

I've mentioned before that if you can see low inclination objects, look 
for UHF 2 Rk (93-56B, 22788).  Its flashes are brighter than mag. +2.

Only saw one Iridium, Ir 10 (97-30C, 24838), to the west and faint in 
my 10x50 binoculars.  Some bystanders distracted me from using my 
binoculars to try to see the Iridiums that passed to the east earlier, 
but I had them all looking for one-power flares -- none seen.

Also seen at one-power on this nice night from a fair location: Cosmos 
405 (05117, 71-28A), Cosmos 1933 (18958, 88-20A), Cosmos 2082 Rk (20625, 
90-46B), and Cosmos 1025 Rk (10974, 78-67B).  A few others seen in 
binoculars.  Very nice night.

Astronomical observation:  I was able to watch for my first time ever 
a very reddened Venus set at 2:17:56 UTC.  It was visible at one-power 
until just 3 or 4 minutes before setting.  The sunset had also been 
quite red.  Smoke from fires in SE Asia?

Ed Cannon
Austin, Texas, USA