A few questions from a beginner.

Willie Koorts (wpk@saao.ac.za)
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 09:02:08 +0200 (GMT+0200)

Hi Folks

When I just joined this list (almost a year ago now),  and before I got
"converted" to Quicksat,  there was some discussion about the following:
OK,  I know I can go dig this up from the archives,  but let's say this
could also be for the benefit of newcomers.

Someone mentioned about software which would modify your QUICKSAT.MAG file
with information such as classes of objects,  comments,  etc to tailor it
to be used for selective selections when predicting for BWGS observations.
What was this program called?  What format of file is needed to feed this
program with information to do these modifications?

Someone also mentioned about the QUICKSAT output modified to give a clock
hour like indication (eg. 2 'o clock, etc) of the direction of movement of
a satellite to be expected in your field of view (FOV).  I understood this
to somehow substitute the "Dir" field value in the output of QUICKSAT.
Even in the latest Ver. 2.11 of Quicksat, I cannot find any reference to
this.  Any ideas? 

Then I have a more practical question for all you experienced BWGS observers
out there. In the PPAS format, cols. 19-28, where one reports the end time of
an observation,  the recommended format is hh:mm:ss.t.  How can one know this
time so accurately when using a stopwatch?  Do one need a special type of
stopwatch to achieve this?  All stopwatches I know loose the absolute time
display when put into stopwatch mode.

Another practical question.  First a little background.  I made myself a
sort of "theodolite" using two protractors ( 360 deg. for Azimuth and 90
deg. for Altitude) to be able to find satellites.  To use it, I would park
my telescope/monocular at an Alt/Az position along the track of the
satellite I want to observe and wait till the predicted time for it to
cross the FOV whereafter I start tracking it.  If it goes too far over the
time and I have not seen it yet, I would advance the mount to a higher
point along the track and try again.  Depending on the sky conditions, I
managed about a 60% hit rate when I was using a 35mm refractor with a 5
deg. FOV.  I have just recently modified a 80mm spotting scope to a right
angle eyepiece giving me about a 4 deg. FOV.  I seem to be able to find
about 85% of predicted BWGS satellites ( selecting the b & ! classes )
with this setup.  Any practical suggestions on how I could improve my hit
rate with this system? 

          Willie Koorts