Geosat Flare Question

From: Jeff Umbarger (
Date: Thu Oct 16 2003 - 22:12:00 EDT

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    Hey All,
         First time to the list so bear with me!
         Location: 33.0695N, 96.7681W
         Timezone: CST/CDT (GMT -5)
         I've been going to the Heavens-Above site for
    over 3 years and making evening observations of visual
    satellites several times a week since then. However, 2
    nights ago (Wednesday October 15 at 00:43 CDT) I noted
    a "star out of place" just north of the constellation
    Cetus. It made a near perfect equilateral triangle
    with theta and eta Cetus. I realized the Earth's
    shadow was directly north of this. I saw several more
    flare ups that night. Last night I saw, I believe the
    same ones at 00:31, 01:22 (a cluster of 3 or more),
    and 01:50. 
         In doing research on this I found a posting by
    Rainer Kresken that list the optimum dates to observe
    this phenomena based on observer's latitude. I have a
    number of questions:
    1.) He states that best time to see these flares is
    when the geosat is less than 25 degrees above the
    horizon. Why? I was looking up at nearly 50 degrees,
    straight south when I saw them, middle of the night.
    2.) I've calculated the ring of geosats to be at -5.45
    degrees declination for my latitude. So when the
    earth's shadow is south of the celestial equator
    (before autumnal equinox), the eclipsing should be
    optimal for me. But Rainer's table of optimum dates
    for latitudes shows the farther south before equinox
    and farther north after equinox. Could someone explain
    this better?
         Thank you,
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