Computerized Telescope Satellite Tracking

Dr. Cosmo; Esq. (drcosmo@tw-zone.com)
Sat, 27 Mar 1999 18:09:02 -0500

I have been using C-Sat from Celestial Computing for nearly a year with
my Meade LX200-12" and the results have always been nothing short of
spectacular.

The interface is simple as well as informative and configuring the
software is a breeze. When I observe with a wide-field ocular, e.g.,
35mm Panoptic, the satellites I choose are always well within the field
of view.

The software features a What's Up? function that not only displays sats
currently above the horizon, but highlights those of particular visual
interest. This makes hunting/tracking a snap and has allowed me to find
and track over 90 sats in an evening.

A colleague was somewhat dubious of the claims I made regarding C-Sat
until I fired up the LX200, plugged in the laptop and within a minute
was tracking EGP across the sky. "Holy s#$%," he exclaimed and would not
take his eye off the eyepiece until EGP passed well into the terminator.

This seems to be most people's response to the accuracy of this
software.

The only detraction with the LX200 is the "leap-frog" method of
tracking. The LX200 slews into position, the sat crosses the field, and
the LX200 slews to the next position, and so forth. This is not a
limitation of the software, but rather the motors/encoders of the LX200
drive system. Celestial Computing has done a superb job of writing
tracking algorithms for this system.

Just wanted to add my two cents worth and provide an unbiased view of
this software from someone other than "that smart guy from the US East
coast (Ron D)."

Cheers,

Dr. C.