Introduction : Willie Koorts

Willie Koorts (
Tue, 2 Jul 1996 01:30:15 +0200 (GMT+0200)

Hi Folks

I have been meaning to do this for a while and since I made such a lot of 
noise about the recent Shuttle water dump I thought I should stop lurking 
and introduce myself.  So here goes:

My home is in Wellington,  South Africa,  about 70 km out of Cape Town.
I am employed as an Electronic Technician at the South African 
Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town where I have been working since 
SN1987a (ie. Supernova).  From this you could probably deduce that I am 
also trying to be an amateur astronomer. ( I have a 9" newtonian telescope 
at home which I sometimes take out on a nice warm clear night.)  It is 
required by my work to sometimes (roughly 4-5 times/year) do a week's 
stanby duty at our Observing Outstation in Sutherland about 400 km NE
of Cape Town.  This being a specially selected astronomical site is also 
an ideal satellite observing site - very dark,  50% photometric & 75% 
spectroscopic conditions,  sub-arc second seeing and tranparency such that 
stars can be seen rising and setting down to the horizon.  

This is where my interest in satellite watching started.  It would quite 
often happen that I would be up at Sutherland together with Greg Roberts 
(who a lot of you veterans know well).  He started pointing out Shuttle 
and HST passes to me and would sometimes invite me up to his dome to show me 
geostationary satellites through the telescope when conditions do not allow 
him to do photometry (remember his recent posting of 5 ASTRA's in one 
telescope field - I was there too!)  As I got more interested,  Greg set 
me up with the required software and elements and told me about 
SeeSat-l.  When I could not get logged in  intially,  I used the help 
line by e-mailing Bart De Pontieu directly.  In getting me going,  we 
discovered that if I talk to him in Afrikaans (my native langauge - that 
should explain the bad spelling and grammer) he can actually understand 
me quite nicely (since he can speak Dutch) - at some point we actually 
got so bogged down in language matters that we allmost forgot we have also 
got some mutual interest in satellites!

In the meantime I got the old finder from my telescope rebuilt to have 
"setting circles" in the form of plastic protractors such that I could at 
least find the satellites I was looking for.  Bart put me onto the right 
track to try my hand at some flashing observations of which I did a 
handfull so far.

My best memories so far was the SEDS tether,  the rapid flashing of 95-58 
and the recent STS-78 water dump.

I have just this week (with the workshop facilities here in Sutherland) 
modified an old 20x80 spotting scope with a right angle prism with the view
to use this as my future satellite observing scope.  As soon as these 
dreaded winter nights would dissapear,  I would like to try this thing 
out. (What gave you the idea I am only a good wheather observer?)

I really enjoy SeeSat-l,  but find that since I am not all that familiar 
with all the jargon,  I sometimes battle to follow what exactly is 
happening.  I then quite often have to resort to the "help line" of Greg to 
interpret it for me.  So please you experts,  think about our beginners 
sometimes when you compose your postings.

Willie Koorts

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