Re: Telescope satellite tracking

From: Anthony Ayiomamitis (
Date: Thu Apr 26 2001 - 00:18:37 PDT

  • Next message: Tony Beresford: "Heads up to New Zealand"

    > Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 16:59:28 -0400
    > From: Jonathan T Wojack <>
    > To:
    > >      I am also not very eager to spending an additional $1500 for
    > > the upgrade but, regrettably, will go for it. This
    > > is after spending roughly double that just to get the current mount
    > > with digital setting circles, counter-weights
    > > etc.
    > >
    > >      This is an expensive hobby and it gets worse when
    > > astrophotography falls into the picture (excuse the pun).
    > If memory serves, you can get a computerized Meade telescope for <$1,000.
    >  For very little extra cost (<$100), you can connect it to a computer and
    > get software that is specifically designed for tracking satellites.
    Hi Jonathan,
         You are fully correct but ...
    > Why upgrade when you can get a new telescope for probably less $$$ (and
    > probably better, too) ?
          I am about to get into CCD imaging as well and the problem is that the CCD
    must be matched to the characteristics of the telescope so as to get 2 arc-secs per
    pixel in 2x2 binning mode for DSO's and 1 arc-sec per pixel in 1x1 binning mode for
    planetary work.
          As a result, I was looking to get the Starlight Xpress MX916 CCD camera to go
    with my 14" SCT. However, if I also get a computerized Meade, I will either need a
    second CCD camera matched to the new scope's characteristics or fall into sampling
    problems with the CCD camera.
          I would almost say to heck with it and get the computerized Meade scope and
    simply use a camera for the satellite imaging. However, in addition to satellites,
    one can also then track meteors, comets etc which again gets back to the CCD camera
    requirement anyway.
          What really upsets me is that there is no real reason to have to dish out
    $1500 for the upgrade since the technology is already built into the scope ... the
    CCD data port allows for autoguiding which means "computer" control anyway being
    already present. Anyway, it does open up a can of worms, in my opinion, since the
    user is eventually being gouged unnecessarily to pursue the upgrade route when
    there is no real need for it.
           I will get my CCD camera and use it to autoguide and image meteors,
    asteroids and comets. As for satellites, it may be something that I forego (ie. the
    satellite tracking) since there is no way I would be able to acquire the image in
    time and try and set autoguiding thereafter.
           My current modus operandi for satellite imaging is to identify one or two
    really bright and "close" stars to the satellite's projected path and to simply
    setup on those stars ahead of time and wait for the satellite to make a flyby. You
    would be amazed at how often a satellite will pass within 0.2 degrees or so of a
    real nice FAT target (within UMa, Cep, Cas etc etc). Once again, with my 14" SCT
    (with and without a focal reducer) I have a sufficiently large field of view in my
    camera's viewfinder so as to be able to visually acquire satellite and also press
    the shutter release cable in time.
    > - ----------------------------
    > Jonathan T. Wojack       
    > 39.706d N   75.683d W
    > 4 hours behind UT (-4)
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