Software to aid Planar Searches

From: Marco Langbroek via Seesat-l <>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2018 15:57:03 +0100
Hi all,

When an object has made a manoeuvre, we have to search for it. Assuming no
change in orbital inclination, the way to search is by doing a so-called 'Planar
Scan': i.e. keeping a watchfull eye on the orbital plane of the object until
something passes.

To do this, one must have an idea of:

a) Where the orbital plane is located in the sky at a given time;

b) How this orbital plane moves over the sky (from East to West) in time.

One way to do this, is by taking the last known orbit and creating a large
number of clone orbits, changing the Mean Anomaly in e.g. 5-degree intervals.
This spreads the clones along the orbital plane. When these clones are then
loaded into e.g. Heavensat, they define a moving line of objects in the sky,
that represents the position of the orbital plane in the sky.

Creating large numbers of such clones by hand is cumbersome. I have created a
small Windows program to do this more easily, at a buttonclick.

The program is called "PlaneSearch" and can be downloaded at my website:

One feeds the last known TLE of the object into the program, presses "run", and
it will create 72 numbered clones at 5-degree intervals in MA, which then can be
saved to a file and loaded into e.g. Heavensat or Guide. The original orbit is
also part of the output.

Note that when the satellite has seriously altered its orbital altitude, the
line of clones will be too low or too high in the sky. Still, it gives you
guidance about where to look, broadly speaking.

- Marco

Dr Marco Langbroek  -  SatTrackCam Leiden, the Netherlands.

Cospar 4353 (Leiden):     52.15412 N, 4.49081 E (WGS84), +0 m ASL
Cospar 4355 (Cronesteyn): 52.13878 N, 4.49937 E (WGS84), -2 m ASL
Station (b)log:
Twitter: _at_Marco_Langbroek
Seesat-l mailing list
Received on Wed Nov 21 2018 - 08:58:01 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Wed Nov 21 2018 - 14:58:01 UTC