Optical 18 Dec 2006

From: Greg Roberts (grr@telkomsa.net)
Date: Mon Dec 18 2006 - 17:15:28 EST

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    Observations 18 Dec 2006:
    --------------------------------
    
    Cosatrak 1 (Computerised satellite Tracking System).
    MINTRON low light level CCD surveillance camera (0.005 lux typical
    in non integration mode) and 0.00005 lux in STARLIGHT mode with 128
    frame integration.
    
    Used with 50mm focal length f/2.5 lens,integrating for 96 frames
    which is equivalent to an exposure of 1.92 seconds per image.
    
    Site 0433 : Longitude 18.51294 deg East, Latitude  33.94058 deg S,
    Elevation 10 metres - situated in Pinelands (Cape Town), South Africa
    
    Maybe USA 186???
    ----------------------
    
    28888 05 042A   0433 G 20081218205644000 56 15 1607450-721441 39  +052 05
    28888 05 042A   0433 G 20081218205654500 56 15 1541270-734708 39  +055 05
    28888 05 042A   0433 G 20081218205657400 56 15 1533180-741210 39  +045 05
    28888 05 042A   0433 G 20081218205702700 56 15 1517050-745305 39  +054 05
    
    
    Notes:
    ----------
    (1) I did a plane scan for USA186 using Bjorn's element set, and one from
        Ted, which gave times that agreed within a minute or so. As the
        satellite has only started evening passes here the maximum elevation
        of the scan was about 18 degrees and I could only do a scan for
        about 70 minutes as a result of local obstructions.
    
    (2) Three satellites were seen, at 20h21m11s UT- SL-14 R/B (85113B),
        at 20h24m30s UT -SL-3 R/B (81046B) and the above one at 20h57UT
        for which I do not find a match in my 9000 odd elements database.
    
    (3) I am NOT 100% sure it is USA 186 as I was expecting a more steep
        track angle and the object was quite variable. However I am
        reporting this just in case. It was running about 5-6 minutes late
        on the element sets mentioned.
    
    (4) If this is not USA 186 then the satellite may be considerably
        "off-plane" as the field of view of the camera was 6.83 x 5.38
        degrees. I am reasonably confident that it would have been seen if
        in the above plane. I will do another plane scan in a few days time
        when the satellite reaches a higher elevation and I can do a full
        orbit duration scan.
    
    (5) I have still to go through the DVD recording but am reasonably sure
        I got all there was to see.
    
    Cheers
    Greg
    
    
    
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