Geosat Flaring Observation Reporting (comments)

From: Bram Dorreman (bram.dorreman@gmail.com)
Date: Mon Mar 03 2008 - 21:27:21 UTC

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    General comments on Geosat Flaring
    
    Due to the specific sun-satellite-observer geometry there are two periods
    during a year when operational geosats can be much brighter than usual.
    Since operational geosats are restricted to a certain box in the
    geostationary
    or Clarke-belt, their locations are corrected when needed. This might cause
    small changes in attitude. This in turn might change the place and
    brightness
    of the flares.
    
    The proposed reporting of these flares have no scientific meaning. It is
    more
    for fun of the contributing observers. One should be aware of the fact that
    only a few of the regular observers are interested to execute geosat flaring
    observations. Apart from that, the people in the America's see a different
    part
    of the sky than the Africans and Europeans, causing few common geosats.
    
    We will see how this evolves.
    
    Comments on the Geosat Flaring Observation (GSFO) reporting format
    
    Observers in the USA are accustomed to use the satellite catalogue number.
    Observers in Europe have been taught with the satellite International
    designator.
    Specify at least one, preferably both.
    
    It is expected that only payloads are being observed. Hence one character
    for
    the component code will do.
    The code right of it is to indicate how certain one is about the correct
    identification
    of the observed satellite.
    
    COSPAR station numbers have been introduced to uniquely identify the
    observer's
    location. Use this when it has been assigned.
    For those observers who do not yet have such number, please use your
    initials
    like are in use in the PPAS reporting. You may specify both station number
    and
    observer's initials.
    
    Date and time can be entered as one string with a one minute accuracy
    followed
    by a code representing the pre- or postshadow event if applicable.
    
    If both preshadow and postshadow observations are made, report them as
    different observations.
    
    It is assumed that only positive magnitudes are noticed.
    Magnitudes more than 9.9 are not expected. We report maximum brightnesses,
    not standard ones.
    Sometimes satellites exhibit colored flares. A one-character code can
    indicate this.
    
    It might be of interest to specify the possible optical aid.
    
    For verification it might be useful to report the epoch of the input-TLE for
    calculating the position or identifying the object.
    Any registered observer to Space-Track is then able to retrieve the element
    set.
    
    There may be several items not listed. They can be added as a comment.
    For example: which computer program or tool was used to support the observer
    in locating or identifying the satelliet.
    
    Bram Dorreman
    Belgian Working Group Satellites
    
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