Wednesday 21 June 2006

USA 161 flashing, Lacrosse 4 and a stray

A late report on the observations on the nigh of of June 19-20th. I was too tired yesterday to write an entry.

Highlight of the nigh was capturing Keyhole USA 161 (01-044A, #26934) while it was giving a series of very short bright mag. -2 flashes (at least 3 in about 2 minutes time). I captured two with the camera, the best of which is below (arrow points to flare which almost looks like a star, a faint trail can be seen to the upper right).

Above picture yielded two positions, indicating USA 161 was on-time but slightly off-track (0.05 deg in cross-track).

flash 1: 23:22:06 UTC ± 1 s
flash 2: 23:22:??
flash 3: 23:23:35 UTC ± 2s

I also captured Lacrosse 4 again, and a stray, which turned out to be Kosmos 1602 (84-105A). The observations on the latter suggests there might be a timing error in my Lacrosse 4 data of this night. The sat was on-track (cross-track error max. 0.01 deg).

The timings keep being the biggest bottle-neck. It will only be resolved if ever I come in the financial position again where I can allow myself a better camera that can be triggered directly from the lap-top.

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