Metop ASCAT-Flare

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Fri Apr 06 2007 - 17:55:18 EDT

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    I finally saw my first bright flare from Metop (2006-044A ) at 20:00:48 UTC, 
    6-APR-07 which was produced by the left forward looking ASCAT (radar 
    scatterometer) antenna. The timing was as expected but the flare was brighter 
    (at about mag -2) as I had calculated. It looks like the pitch angle (of that 
    antenna) is more like -47.5 deg rather than -47 deg as I had thought. 
    (Although I had access to relevant technical documentation for Metop this 
    particular angle was not given explicitly in it and I had to measure it from 
    a small diagram - so it had an uncertanity of about 1 deg.) I'll have to chew 
    over the data again (there have been a few more observations of Metop-flares 
    in Germany) and then over the next few days I will post some predictions on 
    this list and hopefully we are getting more observations to fine-tune the 
    Metop ASCAT-flares are quite similar to Iridium flares but due to the smaller 
    area of the antenna and the slightly greater distance they probably won't get 
    brighter that mag -6. Don't get too exited about it - there is just one such 
    satellite up there and an observer can realistically expect just one or two 
    such flares per month during the summer half of the year.
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
    49.8822 N, 8.6558 E
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