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From: Brad Young via Seesat-l <>
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2015 04:31:27 +0000 (UTC)
For me, artificial satellite observation is a tactile, visual, and real-time endeavor. I enjoy seeing the object as predicted or, even more rewarding, recovering one that has strayed from the predicted path due to a maneuver or built up errors in the prediction. Occasionally, an unidentified object (or UNID) is seen, and can be reported so that a guess can be made as to what it may be. New launches are fun to catch before everyone else or confirm. Variable brightness objects are perhaps the most interesting to see, with fast flashes or slow "rolls" allowing one to imagine the motion of the object in space, hundreds of miles above our heads. And, in certain seasons we can see satellites that stay right above our heads (e.g. Direct TV and XM Radio) flaring up and visible even at 22,000 miles away. And satellites can be seen even in the middle of a city, on even partly cloudy or moonlit nights. There is quite a show above our heads - if you know where and when to look! 

All binocular observations with 20 x 80 Celestron binoculars mounted on a parallelogram tripod unless otherwise noted. Observations of fainter satellites with 22" f/4.2 Ultra Compact Obsession Dobsonian telescope, usually at 100x. With geosats, I often use Argo Navis DSC to find and track. Positions reported in IOD format, as described at 

Positional reports are made to provide analysts involved with seesat-l the data required to maintain predicted orbits of unpublished orbits of satellites. The analysts then provide TLE (two line element) data that can be used to predict future passes. This symbiotic relationship is described with some technical details at 

All positional reports refer to the site they were made at - TULSA1 and TULSA2 being the most common. Other sites as needed will be reported with the GPS coordinates for them. Each site has a unique COSPAR site number, or has a dummy site number (e.g. 9999) for use with the observation reduction programs available. 

Variable satellites are reported at as COSPAR site 8336. 
Observation of variable satellites can provide information on the rotational period of spent rockets and retired unstabilized payloads. The data can be used as described at 

Flaring satellites and steady objects are reported also at I report steady objects the first time I see them ("new to me") or if they were formerly thought to be variable. Flaring satellites are reported to learn what phase angle (sun-object-observer) is best for seeing these often spectacular events. 

Predictions for each session are prepared using the suite of programs available at and preparing charts using Heavens Above or charts from ObsReduce for high orbit objects. 

Brad Young

Bright:20 x 80 Celestron binoculars parallelogram tripod 
Dim:22" f/4.2 UC Obsession _at_ 100x.
Numbers above and methods explained at:
+36.139208,-95.983429 660ft, 201m
+35.8311  -96.1411 1083ft, 330m
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Received on Sat Jan 10 2015 - 22:32:14 UTC

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