ETS 6 Watch

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Thu Jan 06 2000 - 23:17:21 PST

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    This is to propose a sort of "ETS 6" watch.  I found another "What 
    did I see?" anecdote on a Web site -- last August 15 a person in 
    upstate New York saw a flashing light in the southern sky at around 
    10:00 p.m. local time.  There was a matching ETS 6 pass.  
    This must be one of the most frequent unidentified flashing objects 
    accidentally sighted these days.  But I think that it must be at least
    potentially predictable.  Based on the previous two evening passes 
    (when I was in San Antonio), Tuesday evening here I looked (one-power) 
    for it (from outside my apartment, terrible site) when it was going 
    to be at around azimuth 200, more or less.  For a couple of minutes I
    didn't see it, and then flash! -- as bright as Rigel.  There were 
    eight more one-power flashes, with four or five being pretty close 
    to +0; the last two were definitely fainter.  One evening last October 
    during a star party around here it did many one-power flashes for an 
    hour or more as it gradually moved across the southern sky.
    Currently, it's making evening prime-time, near-perigee passes over 
    the USA:  Jan. 7, 10, 13, etc. (local time).  And the passes are
    fairly near to Orion, which increases the chances of accidental 
    sightings by constellation watchers, M42 photographers, etc.  (It's
    also making early morning passes over the USA.)
    Given good weather, if some persons in various widely separated
    locations watched the same pass for one-power flashes, we might get
    some data that could be used towards predicting its one-power flash
    episodes.  You could be watching 97-68B or 90907 (Please!) or even 
    old Gorizont 23 -- or Starshine -- in your telescope or binoculars,
    but you could get someone else to stare at the southern sky looking 
    for ETS 6.  "Just watch up there for a while and tell me if you see 
    anything unusual."  (There's some chance they might see Telstar 401 
    ETS 6
    1 23230U 94056A   00006.25128890 -.00000122  00000-0  10000-3 0  7094
    2 23230  13.7605 306.9315 5040279 129.5772 287.2121  1.67089180 32818
    Here's its record on Encyclopedia Astronautica:

    Oh, by the way, in order to get Highfly to give me predictions for 
    ETS 6 without swamping me with many pages of fainter objects, I have 
    set its intrinsic magnitude to -5.
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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