Misc. Obs.

Wed, 17 Mar 1999 20:57:45 EST

Hello everyone.

Evening of 15 March:
I observed WIRE for about 20 seconds beginning at 23:54:40.   I did not
observe any of the rapid flashes that were apparent last week.  I saw 1 flash
at 23:55:00 as it passed behind some haze but the flash could have been from a
passing aircraft.    

There was another parallel pass of bright objects.  Cosmos 2082 r and Cosmos
1680 r were visible in the field of view of my binoculars, high in the
Northern sky, for about 90 seconds beginning at 01:19 UTC.  Cosmos 2082 r was
about a +2.5 mag - easily visible at 1x; Cosmos 1680 r was a +4.0 mag.

Evening of 16 March:
Landsat 4 (13367) produced the mother of all flares.   It emerged for eclipse
at 00:24 under beta-Leo (90az, 24el) traveling R->L..   The brightness was
about a +4.5 for most of the pass - brighter than expected.  Shortly after
passing under the Big Dipper it began to flare.  The 1x visible flare began at
00:26:50 UTC (40az, 11el) and ended at 00:28:00 UTC.  From 00:27:00 to
00:27:40 UTC the brightness was in the -1 to -2 range.   There is something
about those low elevation passes in the NNE that drives the brightness of
Landsat 4 to extremes.

Cosmos 1154 flared to a +1 mag at 00:17:52 UTC. 

Evening of 17 March:
While waiting for OAO 2 to pass R->L below Betelgeuse (210az, 50el), I
observed an UNID traveling L->R at 00:34 UTC.  It quickly (00:34:13 UTC)
flared to about a +1 mag for a few seconds, then became a +6.0.  About 20
seconds after the original flare it briefly flashed at a +3 then went below
the limiting brightness (+6.5).  I later ID'ed it as Snapshot D.
Snapshot (D)     1.1  0.0  0.0  8.1 d            1262 x 1227
1 01389U 65027D   99070.11291839 +.00000040 +00000-0 +10000-3 0 02272
2 01389 089.8358 101.8180 0023171 285.3422 074.5123 13.04384117607651

Don Gardner
Homepage: http://hometown.aol.com/mir16609
39.1796 N,  76.8419 W, 34m ASL