Introduction

Stephen Thompson (STEPHEN@smtp.esiusa.com)
Tue, 22 Aug 95 13:14:00 PDT

It is with great pleasure that I introduce a small disorganization of 
friends who enjoy satellite watching and related activities.  We observe 
from various locations in and around Tallahassee Florida USA, near 30.5 N, 
84.5 W.  We can see Shuttle launches from here.  We have also heard the 
sonic booms of several returning Shuttles but have not yet managed to see 
one.  Our main interest is naked eye observing and the computational 
problems presented by casual observing.

The core group consists of:

Kulbinder Kalirai has made several contributions to the art of satellite 
predicting and TLE management.  One of Kul's most unique observations was 
catching the shuttle passing south of here when it was less than one orbit 
around.  His favorite observing location is the deck of the Leon Pub from 
which he announces Mir passes to anyone who will believe him.

Fred Schmidt, a frequently flying salestech recently caught Cosmos 2305 from 
30,000 feet over Reno Nevada.  When he is home, Fred's favorite observing 
location is the golf course in his backyard where he takes his portable PC 
and does realtime predictions as he watches.

Stephen Thompson, is an ex-variable star observer who can't stay indoors at 
night When the sky is clear.  When it's cloudy he consoles himself by 
working on mathematical solutions to practical observing problems.  He 
spends the hours waiting for prediction runs to finish perfecting his 
juggling skills.

Julea Williams favorite observing location is the beach at Dog Island in the 
Gulf of Mexico south of here. Since she takes her bowsers everywhere, they 
may be the world's first dogs to appreciate the difference between tropical 
and polar orbits.

We distribute predictions of Mir and Shuttle visibility to the local media. 
 During the recent Mir-Shuttle docking, we had fantastic luck when the two 
craft passed almost directly overhead, separated by only a few degrees at 
9:30 on the evening of the 4th of July.  Thousands of people waiting for a 
fireworks display to begin at a local park were able to see them.

Kul's masterpiece, TLEMOP has been posted on the RPV BBS.  TLEMOP is a very 
sophisticated TLE manager with no limit to the number of TLEs it can handle. 
 He is also readying SEESAT5,  the latest incarnation of the familiar 
package.  It has very intelligent selection criteria that makes planning a 
night or a month's observing equally easy.  Both are highly recommended.