Satellite identified in FISTA Leonid movie!

From: Matson, Robert (
Date: Mon Dec 31 2001 - 17:06:21 EST

  • Next message: Daniel Deak: "Re: Wishes and Starshine update (long)"

    Hi All,
    Success!!!  I finally matched up the starfield, and have now
    positively identified the satellite in this movie:
    It was indeed DFS 3 R/B (USSPACECOM #22176, 92066B), one of the
    three candidates I listed earlier.  There were a number of reasons
    why it was hard to match up the starfield -- first, the diagonal
    field of view is only about 18 degrees, so recognizing a constellation
    is pretty much out.  Second, these intensified CCD cameras are more
    sensitive to red light then our eyes are, so the comparative brightness
    of stars in the video doesn't quite match the comparative visual
    magnitudes.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, my assumed
    aircraft location (Okinawa) was off quite a bit, and since the
    camera was pointing nearly at zenith, this caused the satellite
    track to shift significantly relative to the stars.
    What's amusing is that I can now tell FISTA where they were on
    11/18/1998 at 4:43:35am UTC+9, since I simply moved the SkyMap
    observer location until the satellite lined up correctly relative
    to the stars!  Their approximate location was latitude 23.05N,
    longitude 126.27E -- a couple hundred miles southwest of Okinawa.
    The bright star in the upper left of the frame is beta Geminorum
    (Mv +1.22), aka Pollux, and the camera is pointing about 10 degrees
    north of the zenith.  I can provide a SkyMap configuration file to
    anyone interested in comparing the video with my analysis.  The
    track is a perfect match.
    Happy New Year to All,
    Unsubscribe from SeeSat-L by sending a message with 'unsubscribe'
    in the SUBJECT to

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Dec 31 2001 - 17:16:33 EST