Some thoughts in lieu of Obs

Date: Thu May 21 2009 - 00:58:51 UTC

  • Next message: John A. Dormer 2: "Re: Satellite Photography"

    Hi all:
    When I tried to reduce my observations of last night,  everything came out 
    a little screwy and I gave up trying to find the  problem.  Oh, well, my 
    point of view is that I enjoyed viewing USA 129,  Noss 3 (G), Noss 2-3A, Noss 
    2-3 (C, D, E), USA 186, AMS 1.  Sorry I can't  report any positional data, 
    but I wanted to report that watching those  satellites was fun and informative 
    for me anyway.  I can see why some get  addicted to the satellite watching 
    The general techniques  involved for binocular/stopwatch approach are 
    really helpful to hone the skills  of any amateur astronomy enthusiast.  One of 
    my "discoveries" is the huge  importance of the "personal equation."  If I 
    feel tired or harried, I can  almost count on not getting good results. The 
    quality of the data collection  depends on the state of the observer.  Perhaps 
    that limiting issue is  overcome by using an unbiased, nearly always 
    reliable mechanical device.   But taking the data by "eye" is still appealing to 
    me.  I just recognize  that a human can't compete with the productivity of a 
    bunch of  "chips."
    Anyway, I'll continue to do the binocular/stopwatch thing  because I find 
    it a good pursuit for my sky conditions and it's  challenging.  But, I may 
    try to dabble in some video/camera work too.   I am still quite puzzled why 
    more backyard amateur astronomers aren't  interesting in more than casual 
    satellite (ISS and Iridium flares)  observing.  Maybe there could be a campaign 
    to make satellite observing  more of a mainstream amateur astronomy activity?
    Peter  Gertson
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