Re: DRA project

From: Walter Nissen <dk058_at_cleveland.Freenet.Edu>
Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 13:04:09 -0400
> I may be interpreting too much here (but I know Walter will stop me if I
> do that :-), but wouldn't the following indices (indicated with 'BDP')
> be closer to reality?

> Time    WN  BDP
>   0.00  0   0
>  20.36  1   1
>  68.45  2   3
> 114.67  3   5
> 164.85  4   7

I can't stop you here.  With respect to this particular OBS, you have made
a valuable inference.  (I deliberately provided the PPAS report, so that
you could).  But I fear, however, that you have exposed the possibility of
a massive complication for an observer.  Even with a completely clear sky,
a tape running and close attention to recording detail upon it during the
observing session, there is the inevitable likelihood that some events
will be lost and omitted from the report.  I'm thinking here especially of
wildly flashing objects such as 10820 = 78-42A = DMSP F3, 18958 = 88-20A =
C* 1933, 19210 = 88-50A = C* 1953, and 23099 = 94-27A = SROSS-C2.  If the
observer is expected to make inferences such as you have made, he may well
never complete the process of constructing the report!  Is it not better
to construct such "theories" from the observer's raw data?  Bj"orn's point
about accuracy applies here as well.  (You may recall I'd like to be able
to report times for PPAS in hundredths of seconds for the same reason,
namely, that it is more accurate to simply copy data out of my log than to
process that same data into a specific format.  Carried one step further,
I'd like to be able to report raw times and the watch correction.  How far
does this go)?

Or are you suggesting that the report format needs to be fleshed out to
support reporting of the facts which would support such inferences, such
as brightness of each flash, duration of each flash, sharpness of each
flash?  Another aspect is the importance of avoiding any undue pressure on
the observer to conform what he sees to what he can report, or to report
only behaviour perceived as "formattable".  I'm not sure this is possible.
The PPAS format certainly does pressure the observer to report periods,
but this accomplishes the scientifically useful task of inducing him to
extract whatever regularity he can from whatever irregularity he observes.
It also accomplishes the scientifically destructive task of tossing out
any useful record of the irregularity (I'm not referring here to the
remarks he may append).

Received on Mon May 01 1995 - 13:36:34 UTC

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