Re: Observing Vanguard (was two obs plus others)

From: Tony Beresford (
Date: Fri May 19 2006 - 11:01:58 EDT

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    At 14:24 19/05/06, Bill Frost wrote:
    >Thanks Ed, it would be fascinating to see one of the Vanguards. I really must get the binoculars out and have a go.
    >In 1959 one of the Vanguards (1959-001-B, I suspect) was lost. It was rediscovered by a Moonwatch team from an observation point at the University of Adelaide (Australia), including my father as one of its members. So the interest has been passed down two generations, even though his granddaughter will only come out and see an Iridium flare if it rates at minus seven magnitude.
    >There is an outside chance that I saw one of the Vanguards. I've just turned 50 and in 1959, just before we went to live at the Woomera Rocket Range, I was taken outside to see a satellite and I remember it more because it was such a big event for my father. One of these days I might try and see if I can narrow down which one it might have been. HA shows just 18 tracked objects from that year, five of which are still in earth orbit.
    Bill, None of the Vanguards or their rockets were naked eye objects so i doubt it was them you saw.
    They are in moderately eccentric orbits, binocular siting only possible
    near perigee. I reccomend binoculars with an exit pupil appropiate for your age
    (4-5mm) to maximize the possibility. As currently perigee must be near northern apex,
    it will be a fortnight or two to get to Southern apex.
    My best guess is that were shown Project Score 1958 6A , the atlas rocket put into orbit
    on dec 18, 1958. It re-entered jan 21 1959. It had a transmitter on board which broadcast
    a Christmas message from President Eisenhower. Though I didn't join Adelaide Moonwatch till
    January 1960 on my parents insistence (Last year at school), I saw this object from home,
    using predictions in local paper. I am still observing satellites actively.
    if your Father and/or Mother are still with us give them my regards.
    Tony Beresford
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