Eurosom2 summary, part 2 [LONG,SOCIAL]

Neil Clifford (
Sun, 27 Oct 1996 22:00:05 +0000 (GMT)

Here's part 2 of the Eurosom summary (ie Sunday). Disclaimer as before.


0944 (about...)
 Jay Respler (New Jersey USA) - Talked about his observing career -
 influences, how he got started, objects he had observed, his observing
 location. He also brought along various space related items he had collected
 over the years. Jay invited everyone to join him on Internet Relay Chat
 (IRC) around 2000 UTC each Sunday.

After a coffee break 1040 ?
 Brian Hunter (Ontario, Canada) - Chatted about his observing technique,
 demonstrating how he plans his nights viewing using quicksat and
 several other tools. Brian plans to write up a description and provide
 it and his tools together as a package via the ftp site, so watch this
 space [ye olde satellite observing joke].

Shortly thereafter...
 Paul Maley (Texas USA) - Paul described the debris environment in low
 Earth orbit highlighting the distribution of material found by recent
 investigations (noticable accumulations of material at inclinations of
 approx. 65, 83, 99 deg. at altitudes of 400-1200 km). One radar based
 experiment indicated the existence of 'clouds' of conducting spheres on
 the order of 1cm diameter - possibly liquid Sodium coolant from RORSATs
 (I think was one suggestion). Paul entertained us with yet more of his
 'home videos'. According to my notes this is where he showed us the
 AMPTE barium release - a barium cloud of about mag. +4. He also
 described a similar event that he had seen on 11 April 1985 but had
 never been able to identify. Paul discussed two detective stories - the
 Moon Flash and the Aries Flasher. In the first case Greek astronomers
 reported seeing some sort of flash event on the lunar surface and thought
 it to be either a meteor impact or a physical event from beneath the
 lunar surface. After some analysis it was determined that it was a flash
 from the DMSP F-3 satellite. In the second case a number of astronomers
 reported a flashing object in the northern sky. Some claimed it to be a
 gamma ray emission source - but it was determined to have been a glint
 off the Cosmos 1400 craft.

By this time we were hungry enough for lunch...

 Alan Pickup (Edinburgh, Scotland) - described the inner workings of his
 program SatEvo and how he uses it in generating decay predictions. Based
 upon a decay model given by D. King-Hele in his book Orbits in an Earth
 Atmosphere (I think it was), Alan has gradually modified the approach it
 uses (key parameters are deduced from a lookup table depending upon
 the value of various orbit elements) until he obtained satisfactory
 results. He will make it available shortly for Windows3.1 and Solaris 2.x
 platforms. Alan described some of his successes.

This is now where my note taking if not bad enough already falls
completely apart. Events are hopefully accurate (?!) but times are not
from hereon.

 Mike McCants (Texas, USA) - Mike described how he had modified some of
 his software in order to produce better results. For example the use of
 SGP instead of SGP4 in Quicksat and how in determining the orbits of
 NOSS he had found problems with time cubed terms in the SGP4 model
 'blowing up'. These he had disregarded in order to improve long term
 accuracy. Further information is in the release notes of his orbital
 determination/fitting programs available from his web site or Mike then described the optical characteristics
 of various rocket types - relating typical light curves to the
 properties of the object giving examples as he proceeded.

Perhaps coffee came next but somewhere around here came...

 Bjoern Gimle (Sweden) - Bjoern continued his talk from Saturday
 describing the software he uses (including a demo of Skymap) and the
 programs that he has written to tie all these packages together. Once
 again this talk will be available shortly from Bjoerns web site.

 Paul Maley (Texas USA) - Paul was back again to drive the temparature
 of the video projector even higher and endanger Bart's deposit on it
 ;-) . Paul showed footage of many different events - LDEF-STS
 rendezvous, STS re-entries (the persistence of the
 ionised trail was evident as was its slow 'fading' along with the
 appearance of knots which tended to linger longer. Noticable was the
 fact that the trail really consisted of 2 trails probably shed from
 either wing - the whole appearance including it's slow fade/knotted
 features remined me of commercial jet contrails under certain conditions
 (even though the Mach regime and atmospheric conditions are radically 
 different)), SEDS, TSS-1R and TiPS tethers, NOSS,
 observing MIr from various moving patforms (!), Mir debris, PAGEOS
 fragment, STS-13/41C external tank re-entry (his best video - I think
 frames from this video are at ),
 images of Granat rocket body at 196000 km range, images of Galileo
 during the 1st Earth flyby at 600000 km range, STS water dumps, STS77
 SPARTAN, PAMS STU and Inflatable Antenna Experimaent deployment, plus
 many more video clips of other objects. Paul also presented the results
 of high resolution telescopic observations on behalf of Ron Dantowitz
 (Boston USA) including images of Mir and Mir-STS docked plus a tumbling
 rocket body. Several people wondered about the possiblilty of using such
 images to aid the determination of rotation axis program.

Around 1600...
 Bart de Pontieu (Munich Germany) - Bart talked about using the PPAS
 databse for space debris studies - sudden changes in rotational
 behaviour might be linked to collisions in some cases. Bart also
 presented two video clips. First shots of the TSS-1R tether taken over
 Australia by Dr. Kym Thalassoudis (see and secondly video of a
 tether experiment conducted on a satellite launched from Canada - the
 video was shot from the upper stage clearly illustrating the tether
 dynamics during deployment [if the projector didn't overheat !] and
 flashes from the booms of the main satellite.

Around 1700 end - we departed in search of trains/taxis or to recover
our cars from the pavement and the hands of the local traffic wardens.

Participants included but were not limited to:

Leo Barhorst (Netherlands)
Neil Clifford (UK)
Tristan Cools (Belgium)
Frans Debruycker (Belgium)
Freddy de Guchteneire 
Bart de Pontieu (Belgium/Germany depending upon his frame of mind)
Kurt Dequick (Belgium)
Jean De Weerdt (Belgium)
Bram Dorreman (Belgium)
Chris Dorreman (Belgium)
Kurth Dupon (Belgium)
Russell Eberst (UK)
Bjoern Gimle (Sweden)
Brian Hunter (Canada)
Kurt Jonckheere (Belgium)
Paul Maley (USA)
Mike McCants (USA)
Hugh McGillivray (UK)
Pierre Neirinck (France)
Alan Pickup (UK)
Jay Respler (USA) [+ Judy !]
Lutz Schindler (Germany)
Bruno Tilchner (France)
Willy Verhaegen (Belgium)
Patrick Wils (Belgium)

There, I hope that gives those who asked/were interested a flavour of
what happened.

clear skies,

Neil Clifford                             <>