NEAR observed from Marina, CA

Craig Cholar (3432P@VM1.CC.NPS.NAVY.MIL)
Thu, 22 Jan 98 23:07:36 PST

I saw NEAR glint to about mag 2 (not the 0 to -1 predicted for the
San Francisco bay area).  It lasted from about 06:43:35 - 06:44:55 UT,
+-5 sec.  This was quite a bit longer than the 30 seconds predicted.
I had tried to pick it up in my little 114mm newtonian before the glint,
but couldn't do it.  After the glint I tracked it for about 16 min. until
it reached alpha Cass, where I lost it in some clouds.  It was very dim
after the glint, just at the edge of visiblity at 40x, except for a
few seconds around 06:50 when it brightened just a bit.

Considering the weather we've been having in N. California lately,
I count myself very lucky to have seen this.  The only clouds I saw
covered my northern horizons to about 25 degrees.  It was dead calm,
so I didn't even have to contend with the usual coastal winds.

A BIG thank-you to David Dunham who put it a massive amount of work
on the flyby, and thanks also to all the others who helped make this
very unique opportunity possible.

433 Eros or Bust!

 Craig Cholar    3432P@VM1.CC.NPS.NAVY.MIL
 Marina, California
 36 41 10.3N,  121 48 17.9W    (36.6862, -121.8050)      UTC -8