From: Greg Roberts (
Date: Wed Aug 20 2003 - 03:13:46 EDT

  • Next message: Russell Eberst: "AUG18-19.OBS"

    Greetings all
    Looks like there is quite a bit of interest in the CONCAM at the
    S.A.Astronomical Observatory outstation at Sutherland, South Africa so the
    following may be of interest:
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Björn Gimle" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2003 4:46 PM
    Subject: Re: [dsat] ConCAM
    > With some difficulty, I found that the coordinates of the camera are 20.8
    > (E) -32.4 (S), and that image label 'N' is closer to azimuth 025.
    Im not sure exactly where on the observing plateau the camera is situated
    but the following coordinates will be pretty close:
    Longitude 20.812 deg East, Latitude -32.378 degrees (south). The elevation
    is about 1700 metres if memory is correct.
    Bjorn is correct about the error in the cardinal points - I dont think the
    camera was set up by an astronomer !  The dome to the left of N is the
    Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and has a segmented mirror  giving a
    total diamater of about 10 metres. This lies at the northern end of the
    plateau and is probably closer to N than the N indicated. The pole just to
    the left of E is a wind speed gauge ( or used to be when I observed at
    Sutherland). The rectangular object in the SE is the turret dome of the 74
    inch reflector and to the SSE there is a cluster of buildings which are too
    illdefined to identify but include the 20, 30 and 40 inch reflectors, a 30
    inch APT telescope, The Birmingham Solar Observatory, a building housing the
    time service/motor garage, another building that housed an airglow
    experiment, and one or two new domes housing telescopes set up since I
    retired in 1999.
    > The track in is
    > definitely OAO 2 Rk
    > 1 03598U 68110B   03212.16635392  .00000197  00000-0  52024-4 0  6715
    > 2 03598  34.9945  99.4247 0052094 239.6452 119.9083 14.51766444828749
    I was able to download this picture so it looks like images are stored on a
    hard drive for some time after the event.
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Thierry Marais" <>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: den 19 augusti 2003 14:11
    > Subject: Re: [dsat] ConCAM
    > Thanks for the Concam info. Greg, look what I found :
    > gotcha ISS ! Now that I won the game to find the brightest,
    > we have to find the faintest...
    > There's something on the image just before this one.
    this was also downloadable last night.
    I had a look at the pictures being taken last night and there was no
    information - so Sutherland was either under heavy ridge cloud or snowing so
    dont always expect a clear night sky!
    It would appear that the camera used is an ST8 and exposures are 3 minutes
    (?) and the camera starts operating shortly after sunset through to sunrise.
    One thing to be careful of is the fact that the observatory lies directly
    under the main flight path from Cape Town to Johannesburg so flashing lights
    from high flying passenger planes should be recorded. In most cases the
    flightpath will be approximately along the line WSW to NE in either
    direction and at an elevation of between 45 and 75 degrees above a northerly
    direction. Fortunately there are not many flights throughout the night -
    maybe 4-5 total (?)
    Willie Koorts who still works at the Observatory will be going on his
    regular tour of duty to Sutherland shortly so I am sure he will be able to
    give a more detailed description of what gives.
    Sutherland lays claim to being the coldest place in South Africa so is
    freezing at the moment.
    Like other parts of the world we are currently experiencing unusual
    weather - for example Cape Town had two hail showers yesterday - first I can
    recall since Ive lived in Cape Town - little kids thought it was snow.
    Nearby Table Mountain had snow on its top - about 3000 foot altitude but
    more remarkable was that snow fell at the lower Cable Station - there is a
    cable way to the top of Table Mountain - and this is really rare!   To add
    to all the "excitement" a large container vessel (ship)  ran aground a few
    miles from my location and so far efforts to pull her free have failed.
    I dont think Ill be observing for a while - too many rain showers and its
    COLD outside!
    Cheers from "sunny" South Africa! ( dont believe all the advertising!)
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