Unidentified Geosat

From: Rick Baldridge (rickbaldridge@msn.com)
Date: Tue Mar 13 2001 - 23:19:34 PST

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    While observing Geosats DBS-2 and 3 on March 13th and 14th UT, I
    "discovered" an unidentified geosat moving slowly south (descending node)
    just east of DBS-2 on both nights.  This indicates a near geo-sync orbit
    (Mean Motion approx. 1.0027 Revs/Day) of moderate inclination.
    The "unknown" does not appear in McCants ALLSAT.ZIP or GEO.ZIP files using
    Rob Matson's SKYMAP v6.4, while other geosats plotted in the file are
    visible in a 12.5" Newtonian, (DBS-2, DBS-3, AMSC-1, 99060A and 99056A in
    order East-to-West).  That's 6 Geosats visible in a 1/2 degree field-of-view
    at the same time!
    During the observation periods, the satellite was for the most part brighter
    than DBS-2 and DBS-3, at approximately magnitude 8, decreasing to 10 over
    the course of an hour -- generally steady magnitude -- no flares or
    flickering noted.
    Some approximate positions made from 37.272N  121.977W Alt 73M Campbell
    California are as follows:
    March 13 at 5:15 U.T.  Unknown just east (about 1/4 degree) of DBS-2
    March 13 at 6:15:31 U.T. +/- 1 sec.   J2000 Position 11h 08.0031m  -6.7739,
    accurate to .004 degree
    March 13 at 6:22 U.T. Enters Earth's Shadow
    March 14 at 5:07 U.T  Unknown again just east of DBS-2 (but slightly closer
    than previous night,) crossing "geosync" plane heading south.
    March 14 at 5:15:58 U.T  Position 10h 12.2499m  -5.99950  error +/- 1 second
    time, 0.003 degrees.
    March 14 at 5:43:48 U.T. Position 10h 40.094360m -6.398180, same errors as
    March 14 at 5:52:29 U.T. Position 10h 48.785120m -6.513480, same errors as
    Within the next few nights, the unknown should be close to DBS-2 at 5:00
    U.T. heading south, staying within +/- 1/2 degree of DBS-2 for over two
    hours.  More observations are desired.
    Campbell, CA USA
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Mar 13 2001 - 23:20:32 PST