RE: Seeking identification of stars in photo

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Wed Jul 20 2011 - 15:11:02 UTC

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    George Roberts wrote:
    > >Perth is at
    > >  31.933S, 115.833 E
    > That was helpful, thanks.  Plus last night when I emailed I was about to go
    > to bed.
    > If the picture was taken near perth and the camera frame was paralell with
    > the horizon and the picture was taken on oct 9, 1957 utc then the picture
    > was taken at 18:55 UTC +/- 10 minutes.   Additionally for every degree the
    > camera is out of level could add 11 minutes to the error (this 11 minutes
    > was determined for this specific alt/azi/lat/declination position
    > configuration).
    > I believe this works out to 2:55AM on oct 10 if they didn't use DST in Perth
    > in 1957 but I'm much less sure of the time zone.  The time in UTC I have
    > much more confidence in.
    I have fairly accurate preliminary orbits covering Oct 9, which enable me to state with confidence that the image could
    not have been taken on that date. As I mentioned in one of my posts yesterday, I have narrowed the date/time to Oct 27
    near 20:40 UTC or Oct 28 near 20:21 UTC. The track on either date disagrees somewhat with my preliminary orbits. I have
    yet to determine whether the elements are off, or my guess of the coordinates of the photographer is incorrect.
    The photo is attributed to the time-keeper of the Perth Moonwatch team. If so, then assuming he took the photo while on
    duty with the team, the site would have been Moonwatch station 601, located at 32.00194 S, 115.85556 E, 5 m (WGS-84).
    The SAO's (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) final table of observations lists observations on Oct 28 UTC, but my
    analysis revealed that they almost certainly were made on Oct 29 UTC (a different site's data on the same date was
    similarly afflicted, so probably an error in compiling the table). Since the SAO did not report any station 601 obs on
    Oct 27 or 28, it is possible that the team did not observe on those dates, in which case, the photo could have been
    taken from elsewhere, e.g. the time-keeper's home. It is also possible that the team did observe, but that session did
    not yield observations worth reporting to SAO, or that SAO decided not to publish them. A search of the SAO's archives
    may be required to resolve the question.
    Ted Molczan
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