Re: How to identify satellites

From: Edward S Light (
Date: Thu Feb 26 2004 - 18:25:19 EST

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "Re: How to identify satellites"

    Dear Dennis,
    My wife and I have been observing satellites for almost ten years
    (really, just casually - not timing flashes or precise positions -
    just estimating the brightnesses of as many satellites as we can see)
    and rarely do we have an observing session without at least one
    unexpected and initially unidentified satellite being seen.  When
    such an interloper appears, we try to note when it passes an easily
    notable star or star pattern, usually to the nearest second of time.
    Later, using Rob Matson's Skymap program's all satellite search function,
    we can usually unambiguously identify the satellite. (I say usually
    because there are many objects in orbit whose orbital elements are not
    present in the available collections of elements - usually "classified"
    objects or debris or who knows what!)  In my personal opinion, that
    Skymap program is the best freeware tool available for such purposes;
    note, that it is not a Windows program - "just" a graphical DOS one.
    I'm sure that other SeeSaters have other preferences for programs
    and/or methods; I just thought I'd throw in my two cents.
    Good luck in your observing and in ID-ing any "vermin of the skies"
    [a quote by an astronomer probably in the early 1900s referring to
    asteroids] you spot.
    Clear and dark skies!
       Ed Light
    Lakewood, NJ, USA
    N 40.1075, W 074.2312, +24 m (80 ft)
    On Thu, 26 Feb 2004 18:06:03 -0500 Dennis <>
    > Question for the group:
    > What are the steps to identify (seen) satellites.
    > Some of you are very adapt at this. Others (like me) are not.
    > Thanks
    > Dennis Richards
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