Progress On Tracking Satellites With A (Used!) Digital Camera

From: Charles Phillips via Seesat-l <seesat-l_at_satobs.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:18:33 -0700 (MST)
All -

For those interested in tracking satellites with inexpensive, widely available equipment:

I have been working on tracking satellites with a digital camera and am using a Nikon D200 older generation camera. Since I live in swampy
Houston, Texas - where the seeing ranges from "Terrible" to "The Sky Is Briefly Clear" - I wanted to start with inexpensive equipment. 

After lots and lots of reading and experimentation and trial and error and some saying bad words and frustration - this seems to be working. On
Dec 12 I got a good photo of USA 281 (object 43145) and got two observations from a 6.5 second exposure. I submitted them to TruSat and to
Mike McCants (by email as he had requested) and Chris Lewicki of TruSat reports that the two observations process well. The residuals of the
first one (the start of the trail) looked very comparable to other observations from other sites. The time residual from the second observation
was noticeably larger - this is what I saw on the first observations from a few weeks ago that Mike processed. Apparently when you set exposure
time to 10 seconds the Nikon does NOT take a 10 second exposure! So some more experimentation needs to be done - that is something that
should be able to be improved. 

So far I have been doing a lot of manual work, now its time to automate my workflow as much as possible. I am going to try to get some more
challenging objects and am going to invest in a better camera and faster lens - while staying with used gear (there is a LOT available).

Thanks to Chris Lewicki who has helped get me this far! And to Greg Roberts who has helped me along the way. 


Charles Phillips
Spaceflight Research, LLC
Houston, Texas
713-882-4578
sites.google.com/site/spaceflightresearchprojects/
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Received on Tue Dec 17 2019 - 10:19:34 UTC

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