Those comments......

From: Greg Roberts (grr@telkomsa.net)
Date: Mon Feb 09 2009 - 06:58:56 UTC

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    Good morning
    
    I have refrained, till now, from entering this matter in public, but I am
    now going to have my say as those who have taken offence are being told
    that it is all due to a "complete misunderstanding"
    
    Since I have taken offence I would like to know how I have a complete
    misunderstanding - is my reading and understanding of English different
    from that in Canada and England?
    
    I know there is Australian English and American English and here in South
    Africa we have our own perculiar English and of course in England English
    varies from county to county, but English is fundamentally the same
    worldwide.
    
    This is what was said:
    
    "The most valuable members of the satellite observing community are those
    who use their eyes, a stopwatch and star chart, explained John Locker of
    Cheshire, north-west England.
    
    These are the real observers who diligently watch the sky and note when
    satellites pass by or near to visible stars and planets. These records can
    provide important information allowing the mathematicians in the group to
    calculate and check orbital data," Locker said. "Very often unlisted - often
    classified - satellites can be acquired in this way."
    
    
    In the second paragraph he re-inforces what he said in the first paragraph --
    
    "The most VALUABLE members" and "THESE are the REAL observers etc"
    
    How can any misunderstanding arise from this ?
    
    ( its just dawned on me - there have been two stories and Ive read the wrong
    one!)
    
    
    Instead of the author of this controversial and inflammatory statement admitting
    he made a blunder he compounds it by introducing the terms ELITE, LARGE APERTURE
    and EXPENSIVE cameras in a communication to SeeSat. Was this necessary and who
    is he "getting at"?
    
    The equipment I use is mostly second hand and 99% of my observing has been
    done with equipment with an aperture in the range 2 to 3 inches - the same as
    what binocular observers use. Now as to EXPENSIVE camera - I paid $600 US for
    mine and I had to carefully budget for it on my pensioner income. My 30 year
    old 6-inch telescope was purchased second hand for $300 - is this kind of money
    beyond most people?
    
    As to ELITE- lets see what the "The New BRITISH DICTIONARY COMPANION" says so 
    that
    I know exactly what it means - to quote " a choice or select body, the pick or
    best part of society". Strange I dont think anyone has considered themselves the
    pick or best part of society ! ,but lets look at " a choice or select body". 
    Well
    yes, maybe. We ( the video observers ) made the "choice" to be video observers
    and "are we a select body" - well again "maybe".
    
    The core of the high altitude/ video observers do have a colloborative network,
    which also involves radio observers and admission to this core is by invitation
    only and based on what the individual has achieved in the past that will benefit
    the core - so yes there is an ELITE group and matters are discussed and objects
    tracked etc that are felt best not to be discussed in a public forum such as
    SeeSat.
    
    Our self proclaimed expert on what constitutes a REAL observer is NOT part off
    nor ever will be part of this network.
    
    Now to add insult to injury ones intelligence is being assaulted with the 
    statement
    that its all a complete "misunderstanding"! -- PLEASE somebody tell me there is
    something wrong with my understanding of what I read!!!! and be SPECIFIC as to
    exactly where I have "misunderstood" what I have read.
    
    I have been tracking satellites since 1957 and have had experience in all the 
    modes
    available. In my professional career as an astronomer I was involved in several
    space projects  - so I think that in all modesty I can consider myself a REAL
    observer which is why I take such STRONG OFFENCE to Johns comments, especially 
    since
    I am not aware of him ever making a positional measurement that gives him the 
    right
    to define what is and what isnt a "REAL" observer.
    
    Let me also make it perfectly clear - there is NO argument between the visual 
    and
    the video observers. I have the GREATEST RESPECT and admiration for what the
    binocular observers do and have achieved - let there be no MISTAKE about that!
    We work well together and I hope will continue to do so -, we, the video 
    observers
    have just chosen to do our bit using a different technique.
    
    My argument is an opinion expressed in public from a person I do not consider
    qualified to make such a statement and now being fobbed of as a "complete
    misunderstanding"
    
    Thats all Im going to say. My observational record on SeeSat will decide whether 
    I
    can consider myself a REAL observer or not . but note - I have NEVER used 
    binoculars
    for any work reported to SeeSat since its formation.
    
    
    Cheers
    Greg
    
    
    
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