CALIPSO - I missed the target longitude

From: Tom Wagner (
Date: Fri Sep 08 2006 - 18:05:47 EDT

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    Thanks to Gregg Hendry I knew when the CALIPSO satellite was going to pass 
    within three miles of my house early this morning, September 8th, 2006. I 
    attempted to see its green pulsating LASER from a road at 3:23:38 AM CDT 
    (8:23:38 UTC.) I was close to line that passed through 42d 29m 5s N by 92d 
    24m 22 W.
    To see when and where to look, this time anyway, I carefully manipulated the 
    planetarium program I use, called TheSky, until I was able to align the 
    satellite on the zenith at high magnification. I determined the coordinates 
    for two times, three seconds apart. I plotted the two positions using Google 
    Earth. I used Google Earth to obtain an estimated coordinate for my GPS as 
    well. I then traveled to a place on a road that I am familiar with.
    Three high school students went with me in that wee hour of the morning 
    today. Each of us took up a position about 0.1 mile apart because that was a 
    convenient measure using my car's odometer. I realize that that may have 
    been too far apart.
    Other than hearing a great horned owl hoot loudly very close to the car as 
    we were setting up and other than speaking with a curious policeman at 3:30 
    AM, we experienced nothing exciting. BTW, that was the 14th time since 1970 
    that the police have asked me what I am up to. :~) I always have an answer 
    that cannot be improvised. I just tell it like it is and they usually have 
    no idea what I'm talking about. I hope to try again to see the LASER in 16 
    days. The moon was terribly bright but the sky was clear. I wonder if that 
    bleached it out?
    I don't know if TheSky uses geocentric or geodetic coordinates. If it's 
    simpler to use geocentric coordinates than that's probably what it uses. 
    Before the next pass in 16 days I hope to obtain a free version of this powerful 
    ground plotting program, assuming my computer can handle it.
    The TLE from Heavens-Above and Celestrak were identical I believe. The one 
    from Space Track was very nearly the same, being a little different in time 
    but that's it. Here's the two I worked with. I cannot remember which one was 
    from where.
    1 29108U 06016B   06248.37082027  .00000166  00000-0  46943-4 0  1256
    2 29108 098.2068 190.2809 0001013 066.2074 293.9227 14.57102304 18925
    1 29108U 06016B   06249.40086987  .00000137  00000-0  40376-4 0  1263
    2 29108 098.2071 191.2964 0001038 061.5200 298.6085 14.57102477 19070
    (1) Can someone tell me what longitude I should have been at for this 
    latitude: 42d 29m 5s N?
    (2) Will the longitudinal geocentric to geodetic adjustment for this 
    particular satellite always be the same for my location? If it is then I 
    would think I would only need to add or subtract so much E-W distance to 
    whatever I come up with using TheSky.
    If it's cloudy on the next pass I will try my night vision scope to see if 
    the infrared LASER aboard the CALIPSO penetrates the cloud.
    Thanks in advance!
    Tom  Iowa  USA
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