Re: Help Identifying

From: Mark A. Hanning-Lee (
Date: Thu Mar 30 2000 - 09:21:35 PST

  • Next message: Ed Cannon: "Iridium 44 and suspected ASC 1 flashes"

    StarJunkie wrote:
    > Hello all,
    > Many thanks to Mark Hanning-Lee for directing me to this list and to the
    > sci.astro.satellite.visual-observe group.
    You're welcome!
    > Up to now, I've been downloading the TLE's from the CelesTrak site and
    > using the data with SkyMap Pro - this works real well.  The problem I
    > run into is if I have no idea which satellite (or satellites) I've seen
    > - eg, saw MIR intersect the paths of two other sats in one binocular
    > field the other night - I have to load each TLE set, look for
    > candidates, load the next, etc.  Often the satellites I've seen come
    > from more than one (in this case, three) different TLE sets.
    > I've seen mention of the Allsat.TLE in a couple of posts.  Is this
    > indeed a TLE data set for all known satellites?  If so, that would be
    > wonderful!  Just what I'm needing.
    Some good sets in . His mccants.tle is
    usually enough to ID a sat; he also has alldat.tle which covers
    (almost?) all sats, but that's big so a fast PC helps ;-). Occasionally
    you may have a format problem, like different end-of-line formats;
    reading into Word & saving again may help.
    > Another thought, is there anywhere on the web one can search, say by
    > entering a RA/Dec range, date, and time and retrieve a list of candidate
    > satellites that passed through that area using those parameters?
    Some s/w will allow you to do that. I use Matson's Skymap for DOS
    (that's sky*.zip on the McCants site). Zoom in to specify the part of
    sky, choose the center date & time for your search, & adjust the
    magnitude limit to see more or fewer sats. comes close, check it out. Its default pass
    predictions are limited to sats predicted to be brighter than 4.5, but
    is always adding new features.
    > I'm new to this, so any help is much appreciated.  What other types of
    > observing work is being done?
    All kinds, from regular eye observing of brighter sats and launches
    (like me) to accurate timing & position measurement of sats.
    Some sats flash when they rotate and catch the Sun at different angles,
    & some people do accurate flash period timing. Iridium flares are bright
    & predictable but lots of others flash. Really subtle, some people look
    for Iridium flares when lit by the moon not the Sun! Now that's an
    observing challenge.
    Some people try to look for sats about to reenter ... also a challenge
    because they are low and predictions have large uncertainties.
    Like your sig! Have fun & clear skies, Mark
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