Greetings and Introduction

From: Roger Curry (
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 17:36:35 PST

  • Next message: Ron Lee: "6 Feb 2000 Delta/Globalstar Info"

    As suggested on the SeeSat Home Page,  I am introducing myself 
    to the group and sending you greetings from Jacksonville, Florida, USA, 
    N 30.3057, W 81.6604.
    I have been an active amateur astronomer and satellite afficionado 
    for the last twelve years.  I enjoy deep sky, mostly, but my opportunities 
    to get under a dark sky are fewer than my desire.  From my suburban 
    location, I enjoy the shallow sky, and satellite observing is one of my 
    favorite activities.
    I am a part-time instructor at a local university and teach an astronomy 
    appreciation class in the continuing education department.  I have 
    always managed to share some nice satellite passes with my class, 
    including a -7 mag Iridium flare through a sucker hole, within a few 
    degrees of a very bright Moon.
    Over the last 10 months, I have been using a low-light video camera 
    (the Supercircuits PC23C at that images 
    in .04 lux and costs about $90 US.  I record to a Hitachi Hi-8 
    camcorder with its optional video-in cable.  The camera uses 
    C-mount lenses and I purchased an adapter that allows me to use 
    my Yashica mount 35mm SLR camera lenses on the PC23C.
    My favorite lens is a 50mm f/1.7 Zeiss lens that gives me about 
    a 5 degree horizontal field of view and captures stars down to 
    mag 7.5, even in the suburbs.  This has allowed me to catch 
    several satellites in the 6-7 mag range and follow them for 
    long distances across the sky.  
    I am very fond of watching Iridium flares and have managed 
    to capture three of them on video, one of which was a daylight 
    pass, with the sky still very bright and the Sun about 3 
    degrees off the horizon.  (I captured this directly with my 
    Hitachi camcorder since I was afraid that the sky was too 
    bright for my low-light video to be any good).  My latest 
    capture of an Iridium flare was on January 16, in which I 
    picked up the satellite at about 6th mag and followed it 
    through a -8.6 flare, then almost to the horizon, until it 
    was lost in the trees.  The flare on video looks like what I 
    picture a supernova to be and has a very high "Wow!" 
    I found this list while seeking information on tumbling 
    satellites, as I would very much like to add one or more 
    of these to my collection of images.  I look forward to 
    reading the digest and hope to take my satellite 
    observing skills and familiarity with the satellites to 
    a new level.
    You are the gurus, I am the tyro.  I hope to learn 
    from you and make the occasional contribution, if 
    it is something I think may be of help or interest.
    If any of you would consider exchanging video tapes 
    (in NTSC format) or computer video files, I would be 
    very interested.  I would be happy to put some of 
    my low-light satellites and real-time astroimaging on 
    tape for exchange.  I also have digitized the best of 
    my satellite passes and put them on CD-ROM, 
    which I will be happy to send to anyone who is 
    interested, only asking for reimbursement of 
    media and postage or trade for something of yours.
    Best wishes for successful observing.
    Roger Curry
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Visit the NEFAS Web Site at
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