Greetings and Introduction

From: Roger Curry (rcurry@mediaone.net)
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 17:36:35 PST

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    As suggested on the SeeSat Home Page,  I am introducing myself 
    to the group and sending you greetings from Jacksonville, Florida, USA, 
    N 30.3057, W 81.6604.
    
    I have been an active amateur astronomer and satellite afficionado 
    for the last twelve years.  I enjoy deep sky, mostly, but my opportunities 
    to get under a dark sky are fewer than my desire.  From my suburban 
    location, I enjoy the shallow sky, and satellite observing is one of my 
    favorite activities.
    
    I am a part-time instructor at a local university and teach an astronomy 
    appreciation class in the continuing education department.  I have 
    always managed to share some nice satellite passes with my class, 
    including a -7 mag Iridium flare through a sucker hole, within a few 
    degrees of a very bright Moon.
    
    Over the last 10 months, I have been using a low-light video camera 
    (the Supercircuits PC23C at www.supercircuits.com) that images 
    in .04 lux and costs about $90 US.  I record to a Hitachi Hi-8 
    camcorder with its optional video-in cable.  The camera uses 
    C-mount lenses and I purchased an adapter that allows me to use 
    my Yashica mount 35mm SLR camera lenses on the PC23C.
    My favorite lens is a 50mm f/1.7 Zeiss lens that gives me about 
    a 5 degree horizontal field of view and captures stars down to 
    mag 7.5, even in the suburbs.  This has allowed me to catch 
    several satellites in the 6-7 mag range and follow them for 
    long distances across the sky.  
    
    I am very fond of watching Iridium flares and have managed 
    to capture three of them on video, one of which was a daylight 
    pass, with the sky still very bright and the Sun about 3 
    degrees off the horizon.  (I captured this directly with my 
    Hitachi camcorder since I was afraid that the sky was too 
    bright for my low-light video to be any good).  My latest 
    capture of an Iridium flare was on January 16, in which I 
    picked up the satellite at about 6th mag and followed it 
    through a -8.6 flare, then almost to the horizon, until it 
    was lost in the trees.  The flare on video looks like what I 
    picture a supernova to be and has a very high "Wow!" 
    factor.
    
    I found this list while seeking information on tumbling 
    satellites, as I would very much like to add one or more 
    of these to my collection of images.  I look forward to 
    reading the digest and hope to take my satellite 
    observing skills and familiarity with the satellites to 
    a new level.
    
    You are the gurus, I am the tyro.  I hope to learn 
    from you and make the occasional contribution, if 
    it is something I think may be of help or interest.
    
    If any of you would consider exchanging video tapes 
    (in NTSC format) or computer video files, I would be 
    very interested.  I would be happy to put some of 
    my low-light satellites and real-time astroimaging on 
    tape for exchange.  I also have digitized the best of 
    my satellite passes and put them on CD-ROM, 
    which I will be happy to send to anyone who is 
    interested, only asking for reimbursement of 
    media and postage or trade for something of yours.
    
    Best wishes for successful observing.
    
    Roger
    
    
    
    ---------------
    Roger Curry
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Visit the NEFAS Web Site at http://www.jacksonville.net/~rcurry/nefas.html
    
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