European Satellite Observers Meeting

Bart De Pontieu (BDP@MPEPL)
Mon, 17 Jun 1996 22:56:13 +0100 (CET)

European Satellite Observers Meeting

The second convening of the European Satellite Observers Meeting (Eurosom 2)
will be held during the weekend of October 19-20, 1996 in the hotel Ibis
in the city of Ghent, Belgium. Eurosom 2 is organized by the
Belgian Working Group on Satellites (BWGS) and sponsored by the VVS (Belgian
Astronomical Society) and the Dutch Working Group on Satellites.

Everyone (including non-Europeans) interested in visual observation of 
artificial satellites is welcome. Eurosom 2 will be an informal meeting
with English as the working language. The program is already quite full.
We have invited several experienced observers to give invited talks:
1. Bjorn Gimle, Junibacken, Sweden. Bjorn is very active on the internet
mailing list SeeSat-L where he provides regular predictions of the decay times 
of satellites. He will talk about the orbits of decaying satellites and the 
mathematical methods and software tools for making decay predictions. He 
will also discuss software designed to prepare, analyze and report observations.

2. Paul D. Maley, NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society, Houston, 
Texas, United States. Paul works at the Payload Operations Unit of Rockwell 
Space Operations Company at the NASA Johnson Space Center. Aside from being 
very active in solar eclipse observing and the International Occultation 
Timing Association (IOTA), of which he is vice president, Paul is also a 
very experienced satellite observer. His talk will center on low light level 
video techniques applied to satellite tracking.
More specifically, he will talk about the (video) observation of Shuttle 
reentries, reentry of the Shuttle external tank, the SEDS tether, an earth 
satellite as seen from the Space Shuttle, Barium cloud experiments, the
TSS-1R tether experiment, the inflatable antenna IAE, etc. He will probably 
also show video of some BWGS targets and discuss the pro's and con's of using 
this type of application for flash period data collection.  

3. Mike McCants, Austin, Texas, United States. An active observer for more than
20 years, Mike is also renowned for his orbital calculations (decays, flash
periods, synodic effects, orbital debris...) and especially his prediction
software 'Quicksat'. Mike will talk about
advanced measuring techniques for flashing satellites using a multiple
memory stop watch, and the effects on for example the flash period accuracy. He
will also discuss measurements of the synodic effect of flashing
rockets. Possible other subjects include observations and calculations of
exploded rockets and resulting debris, decaying satellites, etc...
Mike will bring slides of his observing instruments.

4. Jay Respler, New Jersey, United States. Jay is an experienced observer,
who specializes in observations of space debris, which nowadays also 
attracts a lot of attention from professional scientists because of the danger
it poses to active and manned payloads. Jay is currently working on a 
database of observations and magnitude estimates of all satellites brighter
than magnitude 13. He will discuss his experiences and measuring techniques.

Several speakers will give contributed talks:

1. Kurt Jonckheere, Antwerp, Belgium has been an active observer for 8 years, 
and is currently responsible for the collection of observations for the BWGS.
He will talk about his recent (successful) efforts to predict accelerations 
of flashing rockets using changes in the orbital elements. 

2. Bart De Pontieu, Munich, Germany is a Belgian who has been 
observing satellites for 12 years. He has been coordinating the activities 
of the BWGS since its creation in 1987. He has been editor of the monthly 
BWGS newsletter 'Flash' for most of the first 100 issues. He also 
maintains the Internet mailing list SeeSat-L and will talk about his 
method to determine the rotation axis of flashing rockets, and will present 
recent results and their application to accelerating rockets. 

3. We are hoping to get Ron Dantowitz to present the high-resolution
observations he and his group have obtained of the Space Shuttle-MIR dockings.
Hopefully, Alain Grycan and Eric Laffont will be present to present an update 
on his efforts in high-resolution imaging of MIR and the Shuttle.

Finally, video material of the Canadian Space Agency will be presented which 
was taken during a sounding rocket flight. During this experiment a tumbling 
sub-satellite was deployed while it remained connected to the main payload 
with a tether. Also, footage of the TSS-1R, taken by Dr. Kym Thalassoudis
from Australia, will be presented.

The meeting will start on Saturday morning at 9h30 and ends on Sunday
afternoon at 17h (with plenty of breaks to eat, drink coffee and sleep).
The registration fee is 400 Belgian Francs (i.e. 20 DEM, about 14 US dollar)
as a contribution to the organizational costs and in return for which you
will receive the Eurosom 2 proceedings. For details on how to register and
prices for food and lodging, check the Eurosom 2 Home Page on the World Wide
Web at:
or contact me at

For people who think Eurosom 2 is too far/expensive/short:
1. Airfare to Belgium (esp. from the US) may not be as high as you expect.
2. The meeting takes place in the middle of the historical (medieval) center 
of Ghent. Ghent by itself offers many great sight-seeing spots (like the Castle
of the Counts, the gothic St. Baafs Cathedral). But in addition to that, within
one hour of Ghent, you can visit great historical cities like Bruges (Brugge),
Antwerp, Brussels, Leuven, etc... In short, combine your visit to Eurosom 2
with a touristic visit of Belgium. You won't regret it.

The deadline for registration is September 15, 1996. If you want to give a
talk (there is still room for a few contributed talks of 20 to 30 minutes),
please notify me as soon as possible.

Bart De Pontieu --  Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial Physics, Garching  --
Join us at Eurosom 2, Oct 19/20 1996 --
BWGS-coordinator -- Flash editor -- SeeSat-L administrator -- would-be-observer
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