Re: ISS Observations and Questions about 2 line elements

From: Tony Beresford (
Date: Sat Aug 30 2003 - 21:34:01 EDT

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "TJM obs of 2003 Aug 31 UTC"

    At 07:58 31/08/03, Robert Schuette wrote:
    >In the few observations I have made of the ISS through my 20x80 Giant Binoculars, I have observed a copper and white colors to the station. Is this the spaceframe and the solar panels I'm seeing or a possible water dump in progress?
    Its the main body of the ISS(white) and the Solar panels ( coppery). In one of the common configurations,
    with the solar panels on the end pointing away from Earth, their underside gives the station a strong
    coppery/orange colour on overhead passes. 
    >Also I am having trouble understanding 2 line elements. I know the first part is the satellite's designation but what is the rest of it all? And how is it possible to calculate your own numbers??
    You will find an explanation of the layout on the VSHOHP ( )
    and on Mike McCants's web page (  ). The elements section of the
    NASA site also has an illustrated explanation of orbital elements
    in general
    The process of getting one's own numbers is that of orbit determination from observations
    of position. There is software
    available from the abovementioned pages to help in that process. You will have seen posts
    of observations that can be used to generate elements.
    Tony Beresford
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