Re: How to ID these sats; Was:Unidentified subject!

From: Björn Gimle (
Date: Mon Sep 16 2002 - 04:56:12 EDT

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "RE: question from another list"

    You do need more detail to identify observations.
    Just by PREDICTED magnitudes using Rob Matson's SkyMap and
    satbase.tle orbital elements, I find ten satellites brighter than
    mag +4.4, but these need not be the ones you saw !.
    Going "down" to mag +8, there are probably 10-20 more satellites
    out of the 55 predicted that occasionally reach one-power visibility.
    In SvendAage44.gif you'll find Iridium 39 near the crosshairs, and
    the track is yellow during the flare. Blue tracks are entering or
    exiting shadow, lilac tracks are fainter (than +4.4 in this case).
    Tracks are labelled with USSPACECOM numbers on the first or two
    first time stamps. The report file also shows the international ID and a name.
    You should have a stopwatch with at least 20 memories and/or a
    microcassette recorder to take notes, to be able to identify ten
    objects. You should take two times for each track, as it passes
    your binocular field, or the span between your index finger and
    thumb nails, to estimate the speed. If you can use the recorder
    (or pen and paper) to record the direction of motion relative to
    the vertical, and the position and distance relative to known
    stars, approximate times and speed estimates may be sufficient.
    If the object is flashing, an estimate of flash period can supplement
    lacking accuracy. If the speed is not measured near culmination,
    and direction of motion is not taken, that should be noted.
    > any idea how to ID these sats? Thursday evening 9-12-2002 38.706N, -121.315E,
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