telescopic observ. plans

Robert Preston (rapr@med.pitt.edu)
Wed, 7 Dec 94 19:27:13 EST

Hello satellite people, I just subscribed to the list. I'm a newbie
satellite-watcher, as a sub-plot to my amateur astronomy activities.
I recently acquired a Meade LX200 200 mm f10 Schmitt-Cassegrain, motorized.
I'd like to get it to track satellites, esp Mir and Shuttles, but do not
have tracking software for my computer, a PowerMac.  In the meantime,
I think I can fool the scope into thinking the pole of a satellite orbit is
the celestial pole, so I should be able to track semi-manually using only the
polar axis.  The Shuttle at 300 km subtends an angle of about 20 arcseconds
(lengthwise), so it should be easily resolvable as shuttle-shaped using
moderately high magnification (say, 130x).

Not requiring tracking, I would also like to catch a solar transit of Mir or
the Shuttle on film.  If I use a shutter speed of 1/2000 sec while the scope
is tracking the sun (with the proper solar filter, of course) when the shuttle
transits, I think that might stop the motion adequately.  First I need to
borrow someone's camera though, and wait for the transit opportunity.

Have any of you list-people ever done that kind of thing?

Robert Preston
rapr@med.pitt.edu