RE: Telescopic Satellite Tracking software

From: Greg Roberts (
Date: Wed Jan 05 2011 - 07:04:10 UTC

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    Morning Dale
    Interesting about Nova for Windows. I am aware of the program having tried 
    it years ago but preferred other programs for my satellite tracking - where 
    ever possible I avoid commercial software when its related to my hobbies. I 
    also dont have an LX200 type scope so cant try it out. It will be 
    interesting to hear from anyone who has actually used it to track satellites 
    optically - this is after all the purpose of this discussion to try and find 
    people who have actually tracked a satellite using available software.
    The support people at Starry Night apparently claim that their program WILL 
    track on satellites but its needs a Mac computer - cant afford that luxury 
    so again the question is "has anybody done this?"
    Im not an expert programmer but I agree with you re why is it so difficult 
    to program a computer to do such?  My CoSaTrak system can do this but its a 
    "non-standard" system - ie not compatible with anything else as far as I am 
    aware. It tracks on an ascii file of positions fed in externally but with 
    modern computers it will be no trouble to do this inside the computer 
    program. The computer could, whilst tracking, generate a short ephemeris, 
    determine the dRA and dDec ( variation in RA/Dec over a short time span- 
    second or less ?) and compute the "offsets" from the current position and 
    set the tracking rates in RA and Dec  for such a variation and then send the 
    appropiate commands to the drive and track on the satellite.  I dont know 
    the innards of SATELLITE TRACKER but would imagine this is how it operates.
    In 1994 a  commercial program called SATPRO was available - still is 
    according to their web site - and this was used to partially control large 
    astronomical telescopes to track/image SALYUT 7 etc
    Then Ron Danowitz acquired some fanatastic imagery of ISS etc more than a 
    decade ago using some program to drive his telescope- so software probably 
    does exist already - its a matter of finding it and somebody applying it in 
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