Obs 14 Feb 2006

From: Greg Roberts (grr@iafrica.com)
Date: Wed Feb 15 2006 - 04:53:44 EST

  • Next message: Russell Eberst: "2006FEB14-15.OBS"

    Observations 14 Feb 2006:
    ----------------------------
    
    Cosatrak 1 (Computerised satellite Tracking System).
    MINTRON low light level CCD surveillance camera (0.005 lux typical
    in non integration mode) and 0.00005 lux in STARLIGHT mode with 128
    frame integration.
    
    Used with 145mm focal length f/2.5 lens,integrating for 128 frames
    which is equivalent to an exposure of 2.56 seconds per image.
    
    Site 0433 : Longitude 18.51294 deg East, Latitude  33.94058 deg S,
    Elevation 10 metres - situated in Pinelands (Cape Town), South Africa
    
    For CLASSFD.TLE:
    -----------------------
    
    25157 98 007A   0433 T 20060214183710600 56 15 0709538+324750 39  +065 05
    25157 98 007A   0433 T 20060214183822400 56 15 0647006+220105 39  +063 05
    25157 98 007A   0433 T 20060214183950900 56 15 0604007-023015 39  +060 05
    23031 94 017B   0433 T 20060214185515800 56 15 1024376-163714 39  +045 05
    23031 94 017B   0433 T 20060214185722600 56 15 1257319-630135 39  +050 05
    23031 94 017B   0433 T 20060214185831200 56 15 1554508-683740 39  +045 05
    28646 05 016A   0433 T 20060214192227600 56 15 2316072-650835 39  +025 05
    28646 05 016A   0433 T 20060214192354800 56 15 0317455-755948 39  +015 05
    28646 05 016A   0433 T 20060214192501900 56 15 0739172-582622 39  +010 05
    28646 05 016A   0433 T 20060214192602000 56 15 0845536-295710 39  +005 05
    28888 05 042A   0433 T 20060214192922600 56 15 1232158-323614 39
    28888 05 042A   0433 T 20060214192952600 56 15 1215507-291618 39
    28888 05 042A   0433 T 20060214193001800 56 15 1210523-281024 39
    
    Strays seen:
    ---------------
    
    Suitsat
    28933 05 035C   0433 T 20060214182310300 56 15 0249256+323302 39  +055 05
    Diamant rocket body
    02671 67 011B   0433 T 20060214183554800 56 15 0711564+330924 39  +070 05
    SL-14 rocket body
    15332 84 105B   0433 T 20060214191133000 56 15 0457004+295750 39  +040 05
    SL-14 rocket body
    12786 81 082B   0433 T 20060214193829300 56 15 0238513+002825 39  +040 05
    
    
    Notes:
    --------
    
    (1) Another frustrating night tracking through cloud which eventually
        forced me to stop. Ah hour later it was clear but I was not fooled
        by this - what astronomers call a  "sucker hole!".
        USA 186 tracked through heavy cloud.
    
    (2) Things did not look normal, until after doing Geosat #25157 I found
        that I had the MINTRON integration set on 4 frames instead of the
        usual 96 or 128 frames. This was corrected.
    
    (3) SUITSAT briefly seen at 15 degrees elevation between a small gap in
        trees - was quite easy and during the few seconds seen it varied
        from invisibility to about magnitude +5.5. Predictions were on time-
        I see that the element database also lists some SUITSAT debri -
        wonder what that is - has a higher drag term.
    
    (4) Now have installed long distance focussing of the camera using
        program ASTROSNAP and a small DC motor at the camera which has a
        belt drive around the camera focus ring. Works well and easy to
        make. Procedure is to put the camera on a star around magnitude +6
        and measure the FWHM (Full width half maximum) brightness of the
        star whilst varying the focus. When properly in focus the FWHM
        will be at a minimum. Works reasonably well but the FWHM
        fluctuates a fair bit due to bad seeing.
    
    (5) Plan to track again thursday night - my weather prediction is CLOUD!
    
    
    Cheers
    Greg
    
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