HST observation and new software test

From: John A. Dormer 2 (jad@texas.net)
Date: Tue Aug 07 2007 - 23:34:35 EDT

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    Texas weather has finally been consistently good enough that I can test
    some software I finished in May of 2007. The tool takes a NORAD vehicle
    ID, an ISO8601 time string, and a step resolution in seconds. It
    generates the highest position above the observer (for El-over-Az mounts
    only at the moment) and a motion plan which would allow a suitably
    equipped telescope to track the >orbital plane< of the vehicle before
    and after its appearance.
    The first successful test was earlier this evening. I'm using the HST
    elements from the 07219.16530683 epoch. The HST passed through the
    center of the field of view of my telescope at 02:32:47.92 UTC +/- 0.1s.
    It was admittedly toward one edge owing to limitations on my elevation
    measurement capabilities. This is a few seconds early, as the software
    predicted the pass to cross the field at 02:33:00.00 UTC at Az 158.78
    degrees El 25.54 degrees. No compensation for atmospheric refraction is
    currently in effect.
    The tool uses Paul Crawford & Andrew Brooks' "Dundee" orbital
    propagation code. This version's newest file is dated 5 August 2006,
    just a little over a year ago.
    The telescope is a 150mm f/8 Newtonian with a 32mm eyepiece and 1200mm
    focal length. Its FOV is about 1.5 degrees. The telescope is not
    currently automated, but I'm writing a stepper motor driver for the
    5-phase motor I have (Verilog) which will allow it to follow the orbital
    plane, though there's more software to write to support the single-axis
    motion plan generation.
    My .sig (below) has the details of the site location.
    I plan to make web-based access to the tool available sometime in the
    next month.
    - --
    30d8m42.6sN 97d52m43.8sW/30.145167 -97.878833 220m WGS84
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