From: Alan Madill via Seesat-l <>
Date: Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:59:46 -0800
Hello all,

Just a quick intro and bio.  I am from Vanderhoof BC Canada, 54N, 124W.  I have 
been a computer GP since about 1986.  I provide network and IT management 
services to our local region.

As a teenager I used to sit on the roof of our house with a pair a binocs and 
scan the night sky.  I own a 8" Coulter Optical dob and a half dozen pairs of 
binoculars.  Most of my observing now happens in front of a computer screen.  A 
few of my favourite sites are,, as well as the news pages at and When I do go out and visually observe it 
is usually with the binoculars.

Back in the early 1990's I got interested in visual satellite observing.  This 
was pre-Internet and the main source of information was the Canadian Space 
Society BBS in Toronto.  I used to dial up at 300 baud and download tle files 
and such.  It is neat to see that a lot of the names that were on that board are 
still active on this list.  Hello again.

One of the things that fascinated me about satellite observing was that it was 
dynamic.  You could predict what was going to be up there with a computer and 
then look up with the aid of your binocs and see something moving across the 
sky.  This led me to take Paul Hirose's SeeSat software and wrap it with a DOS 
based graphical interface that projected it against a starry background.  I had 
a lot of fun with that and spent many an evening freezing my butt while glancing 
through the window at a computer monitor and then at the sky.  A few months ago 
I got that old software working in a DOS emulator and started thinking that it 
could be re-written for windows.  I looked around for something similar but 
really couldn't find anything.  Most seems to be oriented towards ground tracks 
and predictions.

In the last couple of months I have been tinkering away at a new version.  The 
SGP4 code comes from 
<>.  The original routines were written 
by Dr. T. S. Kelso (though he wasn't credited with it in the source).  I've 
managed to get that into a working DLL.  Some of the code for sun elevation, 
observer to sat alt/azm, ra/dec and such are Paul's code translated into 
VB.NET.  The user interface and routines that read the McCants and Molczan 
visual info and star data are written in VB.NET using Visual Studio 2013.  I've 
managed to get into the stage where it saw first light a couple of evenings 
ago.  I was pleased to spot a couple of mag 4 NEOs on time and more or less 
where they should have been.

I intend to release it under the GNU license.  I would welcome alpha testers and 
it would be a bonus to have co-developers.  Any feedback as to what features the 
casual to serious observer would like to have (I'm in the former category) would 
be appreciated.  I hope it will be useful.

Clear skies,

Alan Madill
Seesat-l mailing list
Received on Thu Mar 05 2015 - 23:00:29 UTC

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