Re: WIRE wildly flashing

Ron Lee (
Sun, 07 Mar 1999 13:43:10 -0700

As I reported last night, I saw three flashes just in the field of view
of an 8" telescope.  Based upon Jim's mucho better passes, I can believe
the flashes every 1/2 second.  But the actual spinning rate can be some
multiple of that.

Jim was observing at the same time as my obs..but his was overhead whereas
mine was low on the western horizon.  If they do not save Wire, it will
be a nice binocular sparkler.  

Ron Lee

>There may or may not be a correlation between the apparent tumble rates 
>that we observed and the actual tumble rate.  The relationship between sun-
>sat-observer, possibly multiple spin axes, and a bunch of different 
>reflecting surfaces can get pretty complicated. Just in my observation 
>alone there was a rapid increase in the apparent flash rate over the span 
>of one minute.
>It's possible there was more outgassing of the onboard hydrogen between our 
>two observations.  I can't rule that out.  But if I had to guess it's 
>because I'm lucky to have perfect zenith passes at close range, and I'm 
>seeing a lot of secondary flashes off of different surfaces.
>If the weather holds I'm looking forward to another very good pass tonight. 
>It's quite a sparkler here!
> -- Jim
>Jim Varney
>Member, Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society
>Sacramento Iridiums