re: suggest a Geosat

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Thu Mar 05 2009 - 05:42:12 UTC

  • Next message: B Gimle @ComHem: "Re: suggest a Geosat"

    Mike McCants' freeware DOS program highecl.exe 
    will give you specific predictions for when 
    geosats will be entering and exiting the 
    Earth's shadow, which is the time that flaring 
    occurs.  It's on his page of software programs:
    Björn Gimle mentioned recently that he has an 
    Excel spreadsheet for this:
    Last year Jeff Umbarger had a spreadsheet for it 
    also, but apparently that's not online anymore.
    You could simply run Ted Molczan's Geolong program 
    and then just scan the declination they are at as 
    seen from your location (maybe around -6?).  
    Mounted 15x binoculars would be great for seeing 
    a lot of them.  With a telescope, use your lowest 
    power eyepiece to start with, or the one with the 
    widest field of view, if you have a wide-angle.  
    Since many of them flare to at least +9, you only
    need your high powers if you want to read their
    serial numbers or something like that.  :-)
    Once you learn how, you don't even need to have
    predictions, except to identify them.  I mean, I
    have gone out without any predictions at all and
    just scanned the declination, and I've found quite
    a few that way.  But you do need first to learn
    how to do it.  It helps very much to identify some
    easy asterisms in just the right places, because
    they will all tend to flare near the same places.
    (Of course you do need to have a star chart with
    you!)  If you write down accurate times and 
    positions, then you can identify them after the
    fact using Findsat or IDSat or some other one
    that's good for making identifications.
    I think for your latitude the season is now kind
    of nearing the end, so you had better give it a 
    try pretty soon.  I must say, however, that I sure 
    enjoy it more after the September equinox than I
    do before the March one, when it's usually too
    cold for me to be comfortable.  And now the Moon
    is getting bright, which kind of reduces the 
    results to some extent.
    Ed Cannon - Austin, Texas, USA
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