Re: GPS for ISS transits and iridium flares

From: Thomas Fly (
Date: Thu Feb 12 2004 - 17:14:54 EST

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    Microsoft Streets & Trips has a "find" function with a latitude/longitude mode.
    All you have to do is cut & paste from your transit report (you can also cut &
    paste into CalSKY, after selecting WGS84 coordinates- it'll convert to
    "eastings" and "northings" for you).
    S&T also has drawing tools, a tool for measuring distances, and a "location
    tool" that'll read out lat. & long. as you move the mouse cursor around.
    See, for example, the S&T map near the middle of
    I also have a DeLorme GPS for laptops, and the mapping program that came with
    it.  But I never took the trouble to investigate whether or not it has all the
    features of S&T, since I got the latter before I got DeLorme (I've used DeLorme
    in the field, since the GPS won't work with S&T).
    Don't worry excessively about positioning, since the width of the ISS's solar
    panels is 78 meters / 256 feet. And despite John's recent solar transit
    bull's-eye, it's remains an open question as to how much of that was luck, and
    how much of it was real, repeatable prediction accuracy.
    Another reason not to worry too much about positioning is that orbital velocity
    is ~ 4.8 miles per second. At 10 fps, it'll travel nearly 1/2 mile between
    frames, so it'll be important (especially for planetary "encounters"), to shoot
    at 30 fps if you can (cutting the inter-frame travel distance to about 800 feet,
    or about 3 "panel-widths").
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