From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Wed Jun 23 2004 - 03:25:52 EDT

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "milstar 6 flare"

    >spending a lot of time identifying unids (and usually 
    >unsuccessfully). What is best program / software, IYHO?
    Findsat works well for me.  Other good ones that people 
    use are IDSat, SkyMap, and ObsReduce.  Especially for 
    bright objects, Quicksat and Highfly can often be used 
    successfully by defining a "box" in alt-az or RA-Dec.  
    To me, two keys would be (1) to get two positions if not 
    three or more (and I'm not good at getting positional 
    measurements), and (2) to make sure you're using an elset 
    file that will contain the object you saw.  With my 8x42, 
    in the great majority of cases mccants.tle works, and if 
    necessary adding leo.tle and eccen.tle will almost always 
    include what I saw.  Those are the files I regularly 
    download for predictions.  Especially for very faint 
    objects seen with a telescope, a complete file -- 
    alldat.tle -- is required.  It's rare that I need to get 
    that file; the last time was for what turned out to be a 
    flashing non-operational GPS payload.  There are three 
    specific objects not included in those files, USA 116, 
    129, and 161.  But their elements frequently appear here.
    I need to get less powerful binoculars with a smaller field 
    of view, because I see too many unids....  Just kidding.  
    But I don't try to ID many of them any more, because, 
    especially on nice nights, there are so many.  Using 
    mccants.tle, leo.tle, and eccen.tle, running predictions 
    for objects one might expect to see given the optics used 
    provides hundreds of objects.  I just used +7 magnitude
    cut-off, which I can see with 8x42 on a very nice moonless 
    night.  I got almost 800 predictions -- and that was just 
    Quicksat.  No wonder we see unids.
    Monday evening Mike observed this one flashing once per 
    B-SAT 2B
    1 26864U 01029B   04174.35915506  .00000016  00000-0  21325-5 0  2941
    2 26864   2.9104 181.6041 5468278 323.8125   9.2798  4.54014377 48865
    It's a Japanese comsat whose launch did not get it to a 
    salvageable orbit.
    I was able to see SCD 2 (98-060A, 25504) flashing brightly 
    (at least +4.0) for at least a few seconds on three nights 
    out of four, and Mike and Fred saw it the other night.  An 
    octagon rotating over 32 RPM, it flashes a little faster 
    than every .25 second.  I wish its inclination were more 
    than 25 degrees.  
    Cloudy here Tuesday night.
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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