Possible decay obs from Joshua Tree, CA

From: Mark Hanning-Lee (markhl@prodigy.net)
Date: Wed Nov 26 2003 - 17:13:11 EST

  • Next message: Alan Pickup: "Re: Possible decay obs from Joshua Tree, CA"

    I have been off the list since September, but wanted
    to share this observation.
    Saturday 11/22 my wife & I were in Joshua Tree
    National Park, CA, a few miles S of the W entrance.
    About long 116.3 W, lat 34.1 N, elevation 920 m. We
    were looking at sats and Comet Encke, and noticed a
    striking phenomenon.
    A group of 3 objects crossed the sky from the West to
    the south. First saw them in the west about 30 deg
    high near Altair. (They may have appeared earlier but
    this was when we noticed them.)
    At 19:31 local time = 3:31 11/23 UTC.
    Not timing precisely so +- 1 minute.
    We could see them till they went behind a set of hills
    about 3 deg elevation. They were greenish, perhaps mag
    0, and shedding a trail of greenish debris. Just
    before going behind the hills the center object
    flashed to mag -1.
    There was also a group of 2 on the same track about 20
    deg behind; they faded out after traveling about 30
    I'd stress that they took a long time to cross the
    sky. Perhaps 40 s although I was not timing precisely.
    Long enough to discuss them, pass 7x50 binoculars back
    and forth a few times.
    Slower than any meteor I've ever seen.
    About as fast as any on-orbit sat I've seen, and I've
    seen some sats within 24 h before decay.
    So I think this may be a decay.
    I saw no discussion on this list, and no decays
    predicted for this area, and welcome your opinions!
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