89-100B tumbling rapidly already reported

Mon, 27 Sep 1999 11:37:19 -0400 (EDT)

> Ed Cannon posted a message indicating that this object was tumbling rapidly.
> Back on June 4, I posted this note to the net but received no replies. I
> have since observed it a number of times and this tumbling is very obvious
> under certain aspect angles; not the appearance in others. Although I did
> not reference it by the international designator, it is the same object:
> "I observed a fair pass of (20390) Cosmos 2053 rocket body on 3 June 1999 at
> 0207 UT and it showed clear flashes at a rate of 4 or 5 per second.
> Magnitude +4 at a range of about 900km. Can someone confirm this please? On
> May 30, a better pass showed it as apparently steady in the east post sunset
> according to my video tape. This was a western pass post sunset. On April
> 18, 1999 this rocket experienced a breakup producing at least 40 short-lived
> pieces."

I first noticed this object tumbling rapidly back in July, I think - I'd
have to check my notes at home.  I have been waiting for it to make evening
passes since then.  I observed it last night (9/26) at 2334 UT on a S-N pass
at 40 degrees elevation and on 9/26 at 0002 UT on a S-N pass at 63
degrees elevation.  On both occasions it was flashing rapidly, multiple times
per second.  Some of the flash magnitudes reached magnitude 2 on the higher
pass on 9/26.  This object is such a notable flasher that I used it as one
of the sats over the weekend to interest other members of my astronomy club
in satellite observing.

My coordinates are 41.7080N, 71.3693W (USA, Rhode Island).


Nan D'Antuono