Sat, 12 Aug 95 12:50: 4 EDT

As a new subscriber, I noted the request for an introduction.
I live just south of Akron, Ohio and am a member of the Akron Club of Astronomy.  I'm a "Halley Convert" who finally took the plunge into astronomy in late 1985 at the approach of Comet Halley.  My current observing tools are 7X50 Adlerblick binoculars, Edmund Astroscan, and a 6"F8 reflector. 

My first brush with intentional satellite observing was in October of 1994 when I began looking for Mir.  Since then, I've seen STS-66, STS-63, STS-67, STS-71 (before and after docking with Mir), HST, and over 120 other satellites.  STS-67, only 6 deg above the southern horizon was a tough binocular target from latitide 41N.  I use TrakStar 2.0 as my primary pass prediction program and prepare observing charts with SkyGlobe 2.0 for Windows.  For graphical displays of satellites, I use LogSat 2.50 for Windows.  I have found TrakStar's predictions, plotted to a known point in the sky (bright star, or between 2 stars) to be accurate within +/- 15 seconds and within well less than one degree, given up-to-date TLEs.

My usual method is to position binoculars at my target point in the sky 20-30 seconds before the satellite should pass that point.  Then, if the satellite appears bright enough, I try for it with naked eye.  For fainter targets, the same technique works well with the Astroscan, which has a 3 degree field of view.  The Astroscan's ball mount makes tracking smooth and steady.

I look forward to reading your mailing list.  Thanks for providing the service.