Re: Tracking satellites with Meade ETX-90 EC

Björn Gimle (
Sat, 27 Mar 1999 13:08:17 +0100

>>Has anyone besides that smart guy from the US East coast (Ron D) used
>>satellite tracking software for telescopes to find and track objects?
I bought Ron's C-Sat program version 1.2 in spring -96 because a friend
had a chance to evaluate an 8" Meade LX-200, but only got to use it for two nights. It performed as advertised (similar to ETX-90 EC). I have seen the
announcement of next version's features, but no later ones.

What I dislike in both, is that you are watching a fixed point in az/el (?)
so if the satellite is early or late, there is no compensation for Earth's
rotation. If you are looking for a decaying object, or a classified orbit
with old/uncertain elset, you may have to move tens of degrees, even low E
to low W for an entire orbit period.

ETX-90 EC partly frees you from buying a high-priced telescope just to get
a tracking platform. I really just want hardware onto which I can mount
binoculars, or a video camera with maximum optical zoom, and a computer
interface. Even the Meade Magellan I-II-III units appear to be overkill,
since they seem to charge heavily for the deep-space catalogs resident in
the hand controller, and if/how the RS-232C interface can be used from a
computer is not evident to me from the ads. The 5.3 arcminutes encoders is
otherwise just perfect for my purposes.

Separate units like Astro-Physics xx00GTO and Software Bisque Paramount
GT-1100 with arcsecond precision are also overkill. No ads mention the
tracking and/or positioning speed(s) available. Even the LX200 (as used
by C-Sat) requires the scope to move, remain still while the satellite
passes the field, then move again.

"Optional #497 Autostar Computer Controller" does mention "9-speed
dual-axis" but "any speed from 2x sidereal to 5° per second", and
"12,000 database objects" and "50 satellites". It is not obvious
if the computer-control port is on this unit, or the telescope.

I intended to copy Meade on this reply, but could not find a mail
address on their home pages.

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