Re: Bright sat list / software

Robert Sheaffer (
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 08:22:06 -0800 (PST)

> > So, rather than *the program* telling me what satellites will be
> > visible from my location, I have to tell *it* which ones I might
> > want to observe.
> I don't know what the problem is here.  I thought Leo did a good job in saying
> that, exactly as you want, THE PROGRAM tells you what is visible.  

The program will tell me what's visible IF I tell it in advance which
satellites I want to observe.

>Yes, you
> should enter some limits such as time, elevation, brightness, etc., but you
> don't have to.  You don't expect the program to know just what you want without 
> any guidance, do you?   

I should thank that the program, given a correct elements file, could
tell me "what's up there" without any guidance beyond that of brightness
and elevation. Why is a separate satellite list REQUIRED?

> > And if I forget any, it won't list them, no
> > matter how bright they might be.
> I don't understand this either.  What is there to forget? Once the sat is in
> your list, it will always show up if brighter than your mag limit.  If dimmer,
> or below your selected elevation, it won't show up.  Isn't that what you want?

What if there's a bright satellite that I don't know about, but might
be visible anyway? What if something new got launched, and I didn't
update my list?

> > And as new satellites are launched, or old ones that
> i couldn't > see before drift into view, I have to keep abreast of all these
> > changes and update my 'favorite satellites' list, so that the
> > program can "predict" what will be visible.
> This is one thing that everyone has to do for him/her self.  No program is so
> smart that it will know a new sat is launched and add it to its base list.

But people are ALREADY DOING this in constructing the elements list.
Now, given that we ALREADY HAVE the elements list, why is it necessary
for many people to duplicate the effort by maintaining an up-to-date
list of satellites?

>   I
> look at new launches and decide which I want to look for.  I don't expect
> software to decide that for me.

I have no problem with running a "short list" of satellites sometimes
(I do that, too) so long as you can also run a "complete list".

> Almost no sats are visible all the time.  They drift in/out of view.  That is
> something the software accounts for. You don't have to keep abreast of those
> changes or update lists for that.  The program does it for you.

ONLY if you already put the satellite on your list of ones that you want to

> > Given that we're working from a list of continuously-updated satellite
> > elements that are presumably quite correct, but out software
> > fails to rely upon that information, this is *still* a
> > "cart-before-the-horse" approach. It would be fine to have a
> > "list of favorite satellites" mode of operation, so long as
> > you ALSO have a "show me everything brighter than Magnitude X"
> > mode.
> What program are you using?  
> My software will do either one. And, using Word Perfect, I can get a combined
> list of both!

So, you need to go into your word processor to duplicate the work that
Ted Molczan and others have already done in compiling the elements


        Robert Sheaffer - - Skeptical to the Max!
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