Re: 9/21 - Iridium#63

Date: Fri Sep 22 2000 - 11:45:22 PDT

  • Next message: Tony Beresford: "Sept 21-22 observations"

    In a message dated Thu, 21 Sep 2000 23:18:55 -0400, Michael diLorenzo 
    >then I remembered.....177 degrees azimuth, 57 degrees altitude......but 
    >where the h*** is 177 degrees in my driveway??
    Michael -- lets hope you get to see a few more before the stop.
    I cannot tell from your post how familiar you are with the night sky.  You 
    mentioned you could tell roughly where the ecliptic was -- and that would 
    seem to imply you know your way around somewhat.  
    For you and for any who may be more comfortable using a star chart to locate 
    the spot of a predicted Iridium flare in the sky, even though Heavens-Above 
    ( doesn't generate finder star charts for the Iridium 
    flare predictions it generates, you can still use the site for that purpose.
    Let's say you've set up a custom H-A page for your location and are online to 
    check to see if there are any "monster" flares scheduled.  First, as you 
    might normally do, click on the H-A selection for "Iridium Flares - for the 
    next 7 days."  Assuming one or more flares stand out, copy down the best 
    flare's date and time, elevation and azimuth (or just clone your browser).  
    Then, on the right, in the "Satellite" column, click on the satellite's name 
    (e.g., Iridium 63).  That brings you to the satellite information page.  Over 
    on the far right, click on the "Passes" link.
    Things can get a little tricky here, depending on how many passes you come up 
    with.  Find the pass during which the flare will occur.  Once you have find 
    it, click on the link for that pass under the "Date" column.
    That brings you to the pass' star charts (the "Visible Pass Chart" page).  If 
    you are lucky, the flare may already be located within the top star chart, 
    which has the time noted in tick marks along the satellite's path.  Use those 
    to tick marks to guestimate the point on the chart where the flare should be 
    centered, based on the time predicted for the flare.  If the time of the 
    flare is NOT within the box for the upper chart, you can change the chart.  Si
    mply click outside the border of the box in the direction you want the new 
    map to go.  It may take one or two "redraws" before you have a chart which 
    contains the time predicted for the flare, but you'll eventually get one.  
    Once you have that, print out the page and note on the chart where the flare 
    should occur (perhaps including the time, date, magnitude -- any other info 
    you want).  Then try to find that point in the all-sky star chart in the 
    lower part of the printout and do the same thing, transferring the location 
    predicted for the flare from one to the other.  Keep these handy so you'll 
    have the when the time comes.  Thus, you'll have two charts, both with the 
    point of the flare marked on them -- one of the entire sky, with 
    constellations, and one zoomed in showing more detail.  (Following these 
    steps myself just now, I learned my area has a -7 magnitude flare coming up 
    on the 25th, centered about 15 degrees to the right of Orion's belt.  I 
    should know exactly where to look.)
    Hope you found this helpful -- if not, I hope someone else has. ;-)
    Jim Cook
    Germantown, MD
    39.2N, 77.3W
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