Easier way of identifying unknowns...?

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 04:52:47 -0600

Regarding ways of identifying unknowns observed, I'll "stick my neck out"
and venture to propose that for newbies (and perhaps others) who have Web
access and a browser that can handle forms, one possibly easier way of
identifying at least some unknowns after the fact may be the Earth Satellite
Ephemeris Service (either of two USA sites):  


I'm not sure yet but have inquired about how long after the fact the ESES
will produce valid predictions.  But all ESES requires is location, date(s),
and a couple of other parameters (magnitude limit, morning and/or evening),
and it provides what appear to me to be reasonably good predictions for
quite a few objects.  (There is some question with respect to the predicted
magnitudes, but it seems to me that otherwise the ESES predictions are
useful.  I believe that a fairly large list of satellites is used, and
recently I've noticed that at least some classified USA objects are now

I would suggest that everyone who intends to do regular observing would do
well to get a program (Quicksat!) and (Molczan!) elements and learn to
generate their own predictions, but ESES seems to me to be a quick and easy
and reasonably accurate alternative for those who need or want it.

Ed Cannon
Austin, Texas
30.308N, 97.328W