Obs 04 Jan 2005-part 1

From: Greg Roberts (grr@iafrica.com)
Date: Wed Jan 05 2005 - 11:03:01 EST

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    Observations 04 Jan 2005: (part1)
    ------------------------------------
    
    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 200mm focal length f/3.5 lens giving a field of view of about
    1.805 x 1.334 degrees. Magnitude +12 stars are quite easy to see even
    when close to horizon.
    
    
    Site 0433 : Longitude 18.51294 deg East, Latitude  33.94058 deg S,
    Elevation 10 metres - situated in Pinelands (Cape Town), South Africa
    
    
    26906 01 040B   0433 G 20050104201037300 17 15 2224115-455703 39
    26906 01 040B   0433 G 20050104201440500 17 15 0158064-160705 39
    26906 01 040B   0433 G 20050104201655000 17 15 0328123+130634 39
    28054 03 048A   0433 G 20050104203115100 17 15 2332021-154746 39
    28054 03 048A   0433 G 20050104203129900 17 15 2336474-125101 39
    28054 03 048A   0433 G 20050104203149200 17 15 2341567-092851 39
    23851 96 024A   0433 G 20050104211844900 17 15 1302306-670054 39
    23851 96 024A   0433 G 20050104212031400 17 15 0942562-631055 39
    23851 96 024A   0433 G 20050104212114800 17 15 0826519-540444 39
    90028 04 846A   0433 G 20050104221528100 17 15 0234496-373730 39
    90028 04 846A   0433 G 20050104221629600 17 15 0311497-325244 39
    90028 04 846A   0433 G 20050104221723300 17 15 0340301-281047 39
    90028 04 846A   0433 G 20050104221812000 17 15 0403438-233824 39
    27938 03 041B   0433 G 20050104215018600 17 15 0629455+011551 39
    27938 03 041B   0433 G 20050104214401500 17 15 0623227+012405 39
    90013 03 564A   0433 G 20050104214908700 17 15 0754068+124930 39
    90013 03 564A   0433 G 20050104211213100 17 15 0716480+130638 39
    25744 99 028A   0433 G 20050104212257300 17 15 1748475-755209 39
    25744 99 028A   0433 G 20050104212403300 17 15 1624114-760807 39
    25744 99 028A   0433 G 20050104212555500 17 15 1424078-721957 39
    21949 92 023A   0433 G 20050104212754100 17 15 0948196-621214 39
    21949 92 023A   0433 G 20050104212822300 17 15 1046598-673142 39
    21949 92 023A   0433 G 20050104212908400 17 15 1238484-710510 39
    14729 84 012D   0433 G 20050104213956200 17 15 0039252-455346 39
    14729 84 012D   0433 G 20050104214034600 17 15 0124382-420406 39
    14729 84 012D   0433 G 20050104214113000 17 15 0213304-353804 39
    23947 96 038C   0433 G 20050104221005500 17 15 2358398-484753 39
    23947 96 038C   0433 G 20050104221140300 17 15 0009343-490154 39
    23947 96 038C   0433 G 20050104221335400 17 15 0023425-491246 39
    
    Notes:
    ~~~~~~
    (1) Testing out a 200mm f/3.5 lens -- good quality images but
        some field curvature top left corner but not a problem. The
        sky views are fantastic - the shape of Messier 1 ( the Crab
        Nebula) is obvious and the nebulosity around Messier 42 in
        Orion is quite delicate. Omega Centauri is also worth looking
        at and despite living near the centre of the city of Cape Town
        I have no trouble seeing the milky way with the camera and
        the Large Magellanic Cloud is also a pretty site- at the moment
        I am spending a lot of time sight seeing instead of tracking!
        Experiments are still being carried out to determine my mode
        of attack for tracking and its quite difficult to decide which
        lens to use - if the satellite is running "off-time" one needs a
        large field, but for maximum magnitude penetration one has to
        use relatively long focal length lenses which means a small field
        of view - ideally I need two MINTRON cameras!! Guess my next step
        is to try some of the variable telephoto lenses I have -- these
        I buy "second hand" from pawn shops etc and usually cost around
        ten to fifteen US dollars each.
    
    (2) Reducing observations is still slow but I think I have found part
        of the solution - record the video tape to AVI using VIRTUAL DUB - 
        this can handle an avi file up to 4 Gbytes and once in the pc its 
        very easy to jump around in the avi ( backwards and forwards and 
        even single step frames - much easier than using a video recorder 
        to move through the tape - also saves wear and tear on the recorder. 
        At the moment I am also keeping the image I used to determine a 
        particular position as the image quality is quite good. At a later 
        date I will probably delete them.
    
    (3) Still a few satellites to report - nothing exciting and I want to
        carefully examine the recordings of some predicted geostationary sats
        locations that have not been observed for some time. Last tracking 
        session I thought I had found a new one but it turned out to be a 
        Raduga satellite (91014A #21132) drifting past 90013.
    
    (4) My camera mount now has a NEW covering! For the last two years I have
        kept the CoSaTrak mounting outside and covered with a large plastic 
        laundry bin I "borrowed" from my wife. Anyway the ultraviolet rays from 
        the sun have made it very brittle and it had developed some cracks. 
        Today I purchased a 120 litre dirt bin that should survive the weather 
        for a few more years - probably will outlive me and is ideal for the 
        job !
    
    Cheers
    Greg
        
    
    
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