Optical 11 Jan 2013

From: Greg Roberts (grr@telkomsa.net)
Date: Sat Jan 12 2013 - 09:46:22 UTC

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    Observations 11 JAN 2013
    Cosatrak 1 (Computerised satellite Tracking System).
    WATEC 902H2 low light level CCD surveillance camera (0.0005
    lux  1/60th sec - NTSC.)
    Used with 50mm focal length f/1.8lens. Field of view
    6.73 x 5.35 degrees. Mag ~6 to ~7 stars visible in real time image
    Individual frames are video time stamped with GPS derived signal.
    Images processed and measured manually.
    Site 0433 : Longitude 18.51294 deg East, Latitude -33.94058 deg,
    Elevation 10 metres-situated in Pinelands (Cape Town),South Africa
    28888 05 042A   0433 G 20130111215433070 55 15 0007290-363415 39
    28888 05 042A   0433 G 20130111215437601 55 15 0011250-354009 39
    (1)Experimenting to try and get variability cycle of North Korean
       satellite KMS 3-2.  The MINTRON camera proved unsuitable because
       it is an integrated image so does not show small variations, so
       I tried a WATEC camera that I had lying around. Works in theory
       but KMS 3-2 is a faint satellite with brief brightnings to about
       mag +7.5 or so for a short time around culmination and just
       before shadow entry. It is my impression that the brightnings are
       much less pronounced than before as the variability period slowly
       increases.  I did capture about half a dozen "flashes" but more
       aperture is needed which makes things a little more difficult.
    (2)To pass the time I did a plane scan for USA 186 and believe I
       got it as it briefly cleared my house roof at az 233 el 15
       degrees just a few seconds before shadow entry. It was running
       about 54 minutes late on the last available elements. Due to low
       sensitivity of the WATEC not many reference stars so position
       could be a little off.  Unfortunately, as it turned out, it would
       appear that USA 186 did a reasonably good pass whilst I was
       tracking KMS 3-2 but at least I now know roughly where USA 186 is
       and should be able to get good data next time I track when I will
       use a decent camera.
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