Re: class. v. unclass. sats.

From: Greg Roberts (
Date: Sun Aug 29 2004 - 02:37:12 EDT

  • Next message: Tony Beresford: "August 29 observation"

    Hi Ron and the rest of the group
    Thanks for your email re this interesting subject. I guess we are all holding 
    our breath and waiting to see what is going to happen and just how many 
    satellites we will have to take under our "wings".
    Although I have not been actively tracking the past few months, mainly because 
    of my wifes health which took a bad turn but is now virtually back to normal, 
    and our cold wet rainy winter season, I have been busy on the pc side and am now 
    just about ready to start mass production of medium quality observations using 
    my CoSaTrak CCD system with a relatively wide field - probably will use around 
    10 degrees - if one goes too wide one starts loosing magnitude but I am hoping 
    that my limit will be around mag +8.5 which should give me plenty of 
    The CoSaTrak system does have provision in it for recording the position and 
    time of the mount to a file whenever one presses the "C" key.  It is not a 
    facility that I used in the past because it is not as accurate as using the 
    stellar background for the coordinate system and one of the reasons for this is 
    that my mount seems to have some funny manufacturing errors which I have never 
    been able to tie down . However I have now written some software to apply Taki's 
    two star calibration routine ( used on most GOTO telescopes nowadays), and 
    hopefully this will reduce the errors somewhat .
    Willie Koorts and Mike McCants are co-operating together and it looks like a 
    major programming problem with CoSaTrak- (which uses Pascal - and had a 64k 
    program limit) has now been solved which opens the way to further improvements 
    in the CoSaTrak program and Willies beta tester ( me) has already requested a 
    few "improvements" which are being considered.
    So my plan of attack is to track on a satellite briefly, centre it on the 
    graticle system in the CCD camera and capture the position/time to a file. 
    Depending on how many positions I go for per satellite, and on the distribution 
    of satellites above my horizon at any time,and how close to "prediction time"the 
    satellites run , I think I could possibly aim for 50-100 satellites for a 3-4 
    hour observing session. At the end of the session I plan to take the capture 
    file, run another program to convert it to IOD format and report it - ie I will 
    do no actual reductions against the stellar background which has always been the 
    bottleneck at my location.  Of course everything will also be recorded on video 
    tape if I need later to do a stellar background reduction. If I can get rid of 
    the bottleneck reduction I could then observe more than once a week. In due 
    course I am hoping that CoSaTrak will be able to do everything inside the 
    program- ie converting to IOD format etc as well as the Taki position routine.
    This all seems fine in theory so now its a matter of trying it out .I am hoping 
    to have better than 0.1 degree accuracy and time of position  is not a problem. 
    Once finances permit - all money has been going on medical expenses! - I hope to 
    get a DVD recorder which should improve the quality of the video recordings but 
    again this will only be looked at in special circumstances.
    Anyway these are my thoughts and plans for the moment.
    Best wishes to all
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: "Ron Welch" <>
    To: <>; <>; <>; 
    Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2004 1:10 AM
    Subject: class. v. unclass. sats.
    >    It has occurred to me as I guess it must have occurred to others
    > that if there is a drastic redn. in the supply of OIG TLEs in early
    > Oct., the distinction betw. class. and unclass. sats. will become rel.
    > meaningless. I have had a chance to look at more of the postings arising
    > from Graham D.'s posts. Mike M. has raised the question of getting many
    > (more) med. accuracy obs., and Mike Waterman has mentioned the
    > possibility of passive (staring) WF CCD cameras directly feeding data
    > into PCs.
    > This supports Ted M.'s assertion some months ago that the prob. is
    > mainly one of suitable avail. software.
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