Superbird A from Africa/Eur

23 Dec 1997 15:29:41 -0800

Happy Holidays, Seesat-L observers!

We haven't had a Superbird A flash observation in a while, so my ability
to predict when it is flashing right now is very much in question.  Using
the best extrapolation I can come up with (since October 7), Superbird
flashes should be visible from the central longitudes of Africa (10 west
to about 30 east), Syria, Israel, Turkey, all of Europe (except Portugal
and the U.K.), southern Norway, Sweden, Finland and western Russia.
The times that it is flashing at each location is only vaguely known, but
the each night progress from south to north.  For December 24th, my
best guess at the times are:

South Africa   3:30 UT
Spain, Sicily, Egypt  3:40 UT
Southern France, Italy, Greece  3:43 UT
Paris, Switzerland to Western Turkey  3:45 UT
Belgium, Germany, Austria  3:47 UT
Netherlands, Northern Germany  3:48 UT
Denmark  3:51 UT
Southern Norway and Sweden  3:52 UT
Leningrad and Moscow  3:57 UT

I have no idea how accurate these times might be -- I wouldn't be
surprised if they're off by as much as 40 minutes either way.  However,
once you've found the time that it's flashing, you can find it on subsequent
nights by adding approximately 2 minutes/night.

Superbird is very low in the east right now for most of these locations.
The further east you are, the better.  For example, tonite Superbird is
only 5 degrees above the horizon from Paris, but it is 20 degrees above
Moscow's horizon.  With each passing night, the elevation will improve.
By the 27th, Superbird will be above England's horizon, but southern-
most Africa will be slipping out of flash coverage.

Once someone has reacquired Superbird -- probably someone in
Europe -- I'll be able to revise the rotation axis and provide much
more accurate flash times for future dates. --Rob