Comparing mccants.tle and visible.txt

From: Mark Hanning-Lee (
Date: Sun Feb 27 2005 - 19:09:44 EST

  • Next message: Bram Dorreman: "Rosetta predictions"

    Just wanted to come back to the list and say hi. Still
    in Tustin, Southern California, observing sats by eye
    and binoculars.
    Before Space-Track I used to get mccants.tle from Mike
    McCants' site every few days and print out a list of
    all sats brighter than mag 3.5 to observe them by eye.
    Thanks, Mike, for providing that for so long! I used
    Rob Matson's skymap.exe with the SGP4 NORAD orbit
    propagation model.
    Now that Space-Track is here, I tried getting their
    "Visible Satellites" list and doing the same thing.
    This is not a criticism, but I do notice that I get
    fewer sats to observe. Possible reasons:
    * fewer sats (visible.txt is 9X smaller than a recent
    copy of mccants.tle)
    * no magnitudes in the file so skymap.exe uses default
    magnitudes, etc.
    In your experience with Space-Track, do you recommend
    that I use their "visible" list?
    Or shall I try the long "Full Satellite Catalog"? A
    big list may include sats for which different orbit
    models are appropriate, so that a prediction run with
    the SGP4 model may generate poor predictions for some
    Or maybe Mike can publish a list of sats that used to
    go into mccants.tle, so that we can setup our own
    scripts to extract Mike's sats from the full list.
    Just inviting ideas.
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