Superbird A

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Wed Nov 26 2003 - 04:30:40 EST

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    Superbird A (89-041A, 20040) -- I started looking for it 
    every minute or two beginning about 2:50 UTC, and it 
    finally showed up at about 3:07:28.0 UTC and was visible
    until about 3:14:45.5.  PPAS report (not using last three 
    clicks, which were "even" flashes; of course both odd and 
    even flashes are visible for two or three minutes):
    89- 41 A 03-11-25 03:14:19.0 EC  404.0 0.2  18 22.44  +4.0->inv
    After how many years of watching for Superbird A, I had
    not managed to recognize until Mike emphasized it yet 
    again that when it's low in our SSE, it flashes at about 
    3:00 UTC.  When a person has no background in this hobby, 
    some of the important things can take a long time to sink 
    in, at least for some of us (i.e., me).
    A few minutes after Superbird A I thought I'd look for 
    Tele-X by just watching its position without binoculars 
    for three minutes.  After not too many seconds there was 
    a very bright flash, at least as bright as Capella (0 mag) 
    it seemed to me.  I continued to watch the area, and 
    there was another bright flash about 113 seconds later.  
    I was able to see three more, but the last one was only 
    about +4, and I didn't see any with binoculars.  When I 
    checked the position, I found that Tele-X (89-027A, 19919) 
    and Telstar 401 (93-077A, 22927) were at almost the same 
    place (just 0.6 minute separation in RA, none in Dec)!  
    So, given that both can flash very brightly and have slow 
    flash periods, I'm not sure which one it was.  But Tele-X 
    is drifting, so it should be settled which it was on the 
    next clear evening (as long as it's soon!).
    No sign of ETS 6 in my 10x50s.
    Location: Ney Museum grounds, 30.307N, 97.727W, 150m.
    My respect for northern observers continues strong.  When
    I got back to my apartment it was about 5 or 6 degrees
    Celsius, and that feels too cold to me.  At least it was
    calm; Sunday evening at BCRC it was very windy -- very
    chilly.  I'm amazed that people can observe in northern 
    winters!  My fingers get too cold, and gloves are too
    cumbersome.  You high-latitude observers are tough!
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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