satellite tracking

Date: Wed Feb 02 2000 - 08:42:05 PST

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "RE: Feb 02 Obs"

    Last night I finally got a glimpse of a satellite in the field of my 8" LX200 
    (f/10) with my PC23C video camera at prime focus. I used  predictions were 
    from They provided a star map that showed #N12386 
    would pass very close to star 2 alpha Triangulum. So I positioned the scope 
    on the star and the satellite SHOT through the field of view (right on time).
    I had tried to use my TelRad and sighting scope to manually follow another 
    satellite.  VERY DIFFICULT!   First of all the satellite didn't show up 
    exactly where I expected. Then there was  the difference in its dec. vs RA 
    speeeds. Since the LX200 has three set-speeds, I was invariably moving too 
    slow on one axis or two fast on the other. Several times I successfully 
    slewed in front of the satellite, but then I'd over-shoot when trying to 
    center the satellite. When I'd switch to the slower speed I couldn't catch 
    the satellite on the dec axis.
    To manually track a satellite one would need a joystick and proportional 
    speed control$. Our best bet for satellite viewing may be something like 
    C-Sat software from C-Sat seems to require very precise 
    alignment, positioning, timing and current TLEs. Of course the larger the 
    field of view, the better.
    A few days ago, I caught Mir in the daytime with my wife's camcorder. That 
    was easy. I may try using the camcorder at night. (If I get permission). With 
    the wider field I can include reference stars which help to locate the 
    satellite exact position.
    Ted Pittman
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