New member talk

Terry Pundiak (terrypun@fast.net)
Tue, 26 May 1998 22:37:35 -0500

Since I see other new comers doing it - I was a bit too shy... Just a
short message (well, not so short message) about myself...

Been into Satellites since Iridium flare article in Sky & Telescope this
Spring... I used to have a passion for following asteroids with my 16
inch dob, but haven't had much time for them since learning about these
satellites that have been crossing my path for the 4 years I have been
into astronomy.  Didn't know you people knew so much about them.  

I have to thank you all for having this server... I have had a great
time reading your messages.  And have seen some really neat things.

Two or three days after Globalstar 5 launch last month I got to see the
4 satellites in a row like ducks - your messages about it and the tle's
allowed me to nail them as the ducked under the North Star.  It was one
of the neatest things I have seen since the comet hitting Jupiter.  (and
now I have had a blast watching NOSS 2-1 and 2-3 - they're so cute - I
even thought I saw a laser come out of one last week - it probably was
just a meteor fly-by)

(2 or 3 years ago, I once saw Mir and a STS linked up and they looked
like two dots )
I like finding sats and using the large dob to track them... so far no
really neat things seen except for the Mir/STS thing.  (Does TIPS look
neat in a scope or is it too hard to find?)

And thanks for turning me on to Iridium 11 - what a frolicking thing
that turned out to be!

I am impressed with the mathematical precision that these objects can be
predicted.

Since I am a Mac user - and reforming fanatic - I use Orbitrack which
doesn't sort things at all... so I wrote a Hypercard program to sort out
the evening's satellites chronologically and strip unnecessary lines
like when they are in shadows - I now usually can get 4 columns on 3
pages instead of the original 12.  It also can strip out tle's from
Molczen's file so I have been increasing my custom list as I go along.
I'd like to do more programing - add magnitude estimations for each line
of prediction.  

Do you have any simple formulas for calculating sat's fractinal
illuminations out there so I could use the values in Molczen's tle's?
... and maybe formulas for the tracking from original tle? ---  I don't
mind trying to do this on a Mac just for the fun of it, but is is
probably too large a project - anything to avoid the obvious (buy a pc).
(so go ahead and tell me what I am already missing in the pc sat
software world - maybe I'll give in - I'm close)

I'd also like any recommendations observers have for binocs... now, I
realize that the ones I have are poor... are 11 by 70 mm by Orion a good
buy? (I don't want to spend more than they cost.) or any thing real good
in the 7 by 50 format? 

Keep up the good work, SeeSat-L!

Terry Pundiak, M.D.
N3BDC
Easton, PA
lat 40.693389, long -75.26615