Monday, March 26, 2007

Of brilliant flares, and confusion... (UPDATED & CORRECTED)


In the original version of this post, I wrote:

A quick post about the two nice flares by Keyhole USA 186 (05-042A)I just observed. The first occurred in the zenith at 20:23:25 UTC just after the end of my first exposure. It reached mag. 0. A second bright slow flare reaching magnitude -1 happened at 20:24:15 UTC and this time the camera was open. The very fine result can be seen below.
Well, forget that. And shamefaced here. When measuring the images, the delta T came out several seconds errative, and the cross-track error in position some 3-4 degrees.....and I don't make such mistakes, so the only option was that it must be another object...

Hence it was not USA 186 flaring. In fact, an ID run with IDSat and a full satellite catalogue identified the flaring object as NOAA 14 (94-089A, #23455), a weather satellite.

They were cruising up together only a few degrees apart, hence the misidentification. USA 186 is known to produce flares, so when I saw a satellite flaring up near the USA 186 position I assumed it was USA error.

More results on this night will be posted later in a second post.

(click image to enlarge)

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