5919 obs 2003-05-22

From: Björn Gimle (b_gimle@algonet.se)
Date: Fri May 23 2003 - 05:47:35 EDT

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    20691 90 050C   5919 P 20030522210111370 17 25 1304800+112100 38
    20692 90 050D   5919 P 20030522210120220 17 25 1303800+111200 18
    20642 90 050E   5919 P 20030522210120320 27 25 1302000+105600 18
    23728 95 066A   5919 P 20030522230044800 18 25 1850000+324000 68
    I can rarely do any observing in summer at my latitude, since I can't
    find reference stars before the satellite passes, or if I see the
    satellite there are no stars close enough in the FOV.
    With my new Autostar scope I still have the problem of finding Polaris,
    and I have no recognizable landmarks in the telescope observation
    location, just nearby trees to 10 or 20 degrees elevation.
    So before sunset I computed when the Sun would be at 300 azimuth, and at
    that time marked the scope spot and (the direction of) a tree. Then with
    a tape measure I marked an equilateral triangle, thus found the North
    direction, which I also marked. At scope setup after sunset, AutoStar
    found both Arcturus and Vega within the main tube FOV! (Thanks to John
    Locker for useful comments!)
    I pointed to a star group, recognizable in the scope FOV, where NOSS 2-1
    was to pass (I still haven't received my PC connector cable, so I can let
    AutoStar do the tracking!).
    The leader arrived "alone" off-center, but the trailer and outlier came
    as a pair on either side of the center of the FOV, too close in time at
    their respective reference stars to make two splits, so the time
    separation is estimated at 0.1 s. It was very easy, though the Sun was
    only at -7 degrees
    I repeated the procedure for USA 116 (on time, but I held my stopwatch
    backwards, so I eventually clicked some two seconds after the fix) and
    ISS (no position taken)
    Even with this crude procedure, it would be possible to make one fix per
    minute, if predictions are written down, two if they are stored in
    AutoStar as "User Objects", and of course continuously if its tracking,
    or a PC hooked-up, is used.
    I made some more attempts, e.g. a low IGS pass, where my predictions
    where obscured by trees. At 00:15, when the Sun was again at -7 I stopped
    observing, although it would still be possible to see satellites.
    -- COSPAR 5919, MALMA,    59.2576 N, 18.6172 E, 23 m         --
    -- COSPAR 5918, HAMMARBY, 59.2985 N, 18.1045 E, 44 m         --
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