Sats near Machholz

From: Kenneth Drake (
Date: Wed Sep 22 2004 - 16:49:43 EDT

  • Next message: David Brierley: "DMB Obs September 22"

    Hi all,
    Being new to the list but not to amateur astronomy, I'll provide some history. I 
    began looking up when I was a child but did not truly look up until the age of 
    31 (1983) using a pair of very old 10x50 binoculars from my front porch in 
    Conroe, Texas. The Edmond Mag 6 Star Atlas was my next purchase. From that point 
    I have built 6 scopes including a 24" f/5.6, attended 14 Texas Star Parties, a 
    Winter Star Party, a total solar eclipse, contributed to data for numerous 
    grazes including the Pallas occultation, and have chased bats and alligators 
    with Steven O'Meara. Does name dropping win me any points with this group? I've 
    always found satellite observing very interesting especially the flashers and 
    Attempting an observation of comet C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) this morning resulted in 
    futility with the 10x70 binoculars even though the skies were exceptionally 
    transparent. The nice surprise was seeing two dim satellites move through the 
    field at the same time. I'm wondering what software would make it fairly simple 
    to id those sats. I've used several prediction software packages over the years 
    including Iridflar 2.21, Micro Orbiter 3.0, and WinTrak Pro for a short time (it 
    was not very friendly). None of these packages would do for me what seems to be 
    a backwards analysis.
    If anyone is interested, my particulars this morning were:
    September 22, 2004 10:53:20 UTC (5:53:20 CDT)
    95.5512 west longitude
    30.4765 north latitude
    Field centered @ RA 4h 47m Dec -25d 11m  (5 degree binocular field)
    I noticed the two sats in the central half of the field moving south. The 
    brighter was ~6th magnitude with the fainter one (~8th mag) about 1.2 degrees to 
    the west. The fainter satellite was leading or trailing (did not note) in what 
    appeared to be perfect step - like they were part of the same craft. They took 
    about 30 seconds to exit the field.
    Thanks in advance,
    Kenneth Drake
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