Starry Night Bug & Fix; No Luck Newsgroup; Superbird A

CmdrJaycee (
Sun, 29 Mar 1998 15:10:03 EST

A few quick reports -

I recently purchased the planetarium program Starry Night and no sooner did I
try to enter a satellite's TLE (it happened to be Iridium 46) then I found it
was being displayed four minutes earlier and along a track 10 degrees farther
east than where the GSOC web site said it would be when it flared.  I wrote
Sienna Software, the producer, and I'm pleased to report not only were they
right on top of this, but they provided a very simple fix.  (Soon Iridium 46
was being displayed right where it was supposed to be.)

The previously unknown bug involves NASA's having included a negative decay
rate in Iridium 46's TLE, shown with a minus sign ("-"), which Starry Night
could not take into account (it will be corrected in the next version).  Tom
Anderson at Sienna Software suggested the problem could be fixed by simply
replacing that minus sign with a zero ("0").  For example, using the original
Iridium 46 TLE (decay rate -.00000427):

1 25105U 97082B   98077.78945814 -.00000427  00000-0 -15942-3 0   794


1 25105U 97082B   98077.78945814 0.00000427  00000-0 -15942-3 0   794

when being entered.  For those of you using Starry Night to display
satellites, keep an eye out for those negative ("-") decay rate values - there
are lots of them.

On another matter, I too, like Water Nissen (SeeSat-L March 20), have still
had no luck using Daja News to access the sci.astro.satellites.visual-observe
newsgroup.  I've also sent a note to AOL's Newsmaster to see if they might add
it to their servers - which they have apparently not yet done, either.

Lastly, I just wanted to report that a group of about 15 Messier Marathoners
in upper Montgomery County, outside Washington DC, were treated to a nice
display of Superbird A last night.  My thanks all of those who have been
posting word about it.  

Jim Cook
Germantown, MD
39.2N, 77.3W