Re: Satellite Magnitude Calculation

From: George Roberts (
Date: Mon Oct 17 2011 - 16:44:42 UTC

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    It's based on a table of "standard brightnesses", the distance and the angle 
    (observer - sat - sun angle where these 3 points make up two lines that 
    intersect at the satellite and the angle between is the angle discussed). 
    Anyway there is more information on this list about where to get the latest 
    standard brightness table, etc.  But those are the only 3 variables that 
    heavens-above uses.
    Here's a good place to start (click on the "Satellite visual magnitude 
    equations " links):
    I'm pretty sure Robert Matson wrote one of the programs that does what your 
    friend intends to do.  There's really plenty of software out there that 
    already does what heavens-above does but better.  I use heavensat the most.
    - George Roberts
    -----Original Message----- 
    From: Steve Daniels
    Sent: Monday, October 17, 2011 12:13 PM
    Subject: Satellite Magnitude Calculation
    Hi All
    A programmer I know is writing software mainly for amateur radio use, but he
    is including satellite tracking, I have managed to persuade him to include
    satellite visibility from a visual point of view.
    I wonder if someone would be kind enough to tell me how to calculate the
    magnitude of brightness of the satellite? I can see this comes from the RCS
    value but don't know how.
    And is there is a good formula for calculating satellite visibility
    This is for free software, he no plans to charge.
    Thank you
    Steve Daniels
    Seesat-l mailing list

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