Re: Predicting Satellite Brightness

Robert Sheaffer (
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 07:53:32 -0800 (PST)

Bjoern Gimle
> Too much depends on the geometry the current pass (elevation, azimuth,
> orbital height, time, season, latitude ...) . To avoid the most cases
> of disappointment,  the only workable answer is using a magnitude
> prediction program like SkyMap, QuickSat, SeeSat, ViewSat - though
> only the last two use the same intrinsic magnitude info (Molczan)

The authors of both SkyMap and QuickSat have produced Beta versions
that are capable of reading the intrinsic magnitude information
from the elements set, when present. I do not know the release
status of those versions; perhaps the respective authors can
inform us of that. I have been using both versions for several
months now, and can attest to a *significant* improvement in
the correspondance between the magnitude predictions and the
"real world." 

> Still, a lot depends on the satellite's own geometry and attitude.

True enough. Occasionally one gets an *extremely* bright glint
from a relatively faint satellite.


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