Clouds Always Lead to Speeches

From: Brad Young (
Date: Mon Feb 23 2009 - 21:48:43 UTC

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    This originally was two responses to private communications. However, I
    think there would be value in a generic opinion expressed to the entire
    Regarding being intimidated by those who have very sophisticated equipment,
    this sound like a revisit of the "I am an observer" thread so I will not go
    there. Suffice to say I believe useful data can be derived from all the
    available observers. The formats of the reports are also mystifying to
    newbies, but I think that mentoring and time will solve that.
    As far as priority of objects to observe and report, I would say that the
    items in the classfd.tle is a priority, because as classified objects they
    are not published publicly except by hobbyists. And there are lots of them
    that can be tracked by stopwatch and binoculars, some even by eye. 
    However, the issue of accuracy comes up. I would think statistically that
    several sets of fairly accurate data would be preferable to waiting for
    someone to "nail" it. I do not pretend to understand the process by which
    observations are selectively reduced to the elements published on this list.
    If certain areas are clouded out, or an observer is unavailable, there is a
    risk of losing an object. We have the luxury of solar minimum right now; as
    the sun becomes more active, the risk of elements being off increases. This
    is a symbiotic relationship, as I have said before. No one can see
    everything, so they can't produce the entire element set and no one will see
    anything easily if there are no elements produced.
    One area that all observers can contribute to is PPAS (flashing or tumbling
    satellites), and reporting flares from such objects as Iridium, Skymeds,
    NOSS objects, etc. I personally enjoy most the reports of flashing "dead"
    geosats and flaring geosats during seasons like the current one. The PPAS
    list does include a list of priorities, where certain objects are changing
    and more observations are wanted. Iridium flares are well understood, but
    there is some tweaking due, as several of the recent predictions have been
    off a bit. Again, there are reporting format issues, but I believe these are
    The hurdle, IMO, is motivation. Given enough positive feedback, people will
    make an effort to observe, and report what they see. Given no feedback or
    upon seeing that their reports are ignored, they will stop. The choice is
    TULSA 1
    COSPAR 8336: +36.128, -95.988, 650ft ASL 
    ACT Observatory
    COSPAR 8335: +35.8311, -96.1411, 1100ft ASL
    Adams Ranch
    COSPAR 8337: +36.937, -96.65, 700ft ASL
    Kenton, OK
    COSPAR 8338: +36.8978, -102.9522, 4400ft ASL
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