RE: Geo sat leading Intelsat 707=96107RE

From: Greg Roberts (
Date: Wed Mar 12 2008 - 11:46:42 UTC

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    Brad Young wrote:
    >> Another anomaly, to me anyway, is why most of the US positional observers
    are in Texas
    >I consider myself to be in far north Texas...
    Guess its as close as it matters :-))
    >> Another anomaly is why the UK, with its atrocious weather, contains the
    highest percentage of optical observers.
    >This is a historical consequence, I'll bet, of the original Operation
    >Moonwatch program, etc.
    I dont think I agree on this point. By far most of the MOONWATCH stations
    were sited in the USA so I dont think thats the reason. The British Astronomical
    Association had a satellite section and put out an excellant publication but 
    I dont think this is why today the most prolific observers live in a misty/rainy
    country :-)) . Maybe the observers themselves might try and explain. I know
    Russell worked at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and did satellites but Im
    not sure how much of it was "hobby" related and how much professional.
    Afraid I dont know enough about the earlier history -apart from Peter Wakelin-
    of the other UK observers. Peter has been just about everywhere on the globe
    -okay, big spaces in between !
    >As one of the "newbies", I can tell you that this hobby requires a lot of
    >learning curve, knowledge of the sky (not just go-to skills), and most of
    >all large investment in time for delayed results. These characteristics are
    >not consistent with most of my gen-X contemporaries; nor, I fear, will it be
    >with my kids' generation.
    I suppose I was lucky here.As a result of my mothers interest in astronomy I
    got bitten by the astronomy bug when I was 7 or 8 years old ( 1947). Then we
    had the UFO wave in the early 1950's which had me believing in UFO's for
    a while, and then around 1953 I got interested in space travel so that by the
    time Sputnik 1 came along in 1957 I had a better than average understanding
    of astronomy and satellites and I got thoroughly bitten, much to the frustration
    of my father who thought it was all a lot of rubbish and I would do better if
    I put my mind to other subjects. This I never did and it even cost me a year of
    university study when I decided that satellites were a lot more interesting than
    studying maths or applied maths.
    So satellites and astronomy has always been the ruling force in my life,
    especially when I was able to become a professional astronomer although
    I had never studied astronomy or related fields- just one of the lucky few
    amateurs who could make a career out of a hobby. Although my professional
    career had nothing to do with observing satellites etc I guess I acquired
    some of the "skills" or knowledge necessary so my learning curve has
    actually spanned over 50 years. I still make mistakes or an ass of myself
    but Ive become rather thick skinned....
    >A constructive criticism would be to provide more positive feedback to those
    >who do dip their toe. There have been instances in the past where people
    >were taken to task over minor issues and never heard from again, at least in
    >my short (3 year) tenure. Also, some of the software used and reporting
    >conventions could use a major overhaul, not in scope or quality, but
    >user-friendliness (please do not read as "dumbed-down").
    Afraid I must agree with you here. I do know of at least one person who got so
    discouraged that he threw in the toweel and disappeared. From a posting made
    by you some weeks back I get the impression that you had had an experience that
    discouraged you somewhat and you nearly gave up observing satellites.
    As to software and reporting conventions - I dont know what software you use
    so cant comment. Similarly I dont know your problem with the reporting software.
    I think we all use the same format - except for the UK (:-)))) and its necessary 
    have a standard format so that the software used to generate elements from
    observations gives the program operator the least work to do so its usually
    necessary to "automate" as much as possible.
    Rather a long waffle, but thats what Ive done most of my life !
    Best wishes and if I can help in any way please feel free to ask..
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