some basic Q's
Tue, 14 Sep 1999 18:52:01 EDT

How often are satellite elements (of non-maneuvering satellites) 
significantly in error? Last night, skies in Chicago were as clear and steady 
as I've ever encountered. I observered the Alouette 2 Rocket from 20:36:25 to 
20:38:50 and found it about ten seconds late passing various key stars. Later 
in the evening, I tried to catch Explorer 8 as it passed close to Alioth 
(epsilon UMa) at mag 8.8. While lining up my telescope about a minute before 
the expected pass, an object with about the right magnitude zipped through 
the field of view heading in the right direction but I wasn't prepared to 
track it further. Are anomalies of 10 seconds and 60 seconds common? How 
often are elements updated by NORAD?

Also, what fraction of orbital elements of satellites which can be readily 
observed are released? In other words, about how many elsets are classified? 

-Frank E. Reed
Downtown Chicago, IL
(not the same "Frank Reed" as the one who posted on SeeSat-L frequently about 
a year ago)