Telstar 401 & Iridium 79

Ed Cannon (
Thu, 04 Mar 1999 03:13:49 -0600

Wednesday evening (early Thursday UTC) Mike McCants and I 
watched what seems to match Telstar 401 (22927, 93-77A) 
for about an hour and 45 minutes.  The first ten flashes 
that I recorded were possibly as bright as +2.0.  They 
are slow, smooth flashes that perhaps last as long as 
a second (perhaps a bit more when observed in telescope).  

The eleventh flash was obviously fainter, and each one 
after that was even fainter until the last one Mike 
observed in his telescope, which he estimated to be about 
+9.  That was the 26th flash, if I counted correctly.  The 
flash period is about 246.7 seconds.  Neither of us saw 
anything between the flashes.  The rough time I wrote down 
for the first one that I saw was 1:56:50 UTC (7:56:50 PM

Observing location was the driveway of Mike's house, which
I think is about 30.334N, 97.760W, 158m.

The last two nights Iridium 79 has made unusual passes
here.  Tuesday night it was visible at one-power for much
of the pass, varying irregularly, and after culmination 
it exhibited a few *very* bright flashes.  It was similar 
Wednesday night except that the visible one-power 
variations looked almost like an ordinary tumbling rocket, 
but then after culmination it again displayed a few very 
bright flashes, although not as bright as Tuesday night.

Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA