Getting Started with Geosychronous Satellites

From: Tom Smith (
Date: Sat Sep 19 2009 - 18:48:45 UTC

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    Last night I saw a geosynchronous satellite for the first time, and am 
    writing this to encourage other newbies to give it a try.  I used Celestron 
    C102-HD 4-inch refractor and 40mm eyepiece, field of view approximately 1.5 
    Using Heavensat I found a bright star that passes near the geosynch 
    locations.  For my latitude this in Beta Aquarii (Sadalsuud).  I then 
    manually tracked the star.  I put the star at the east edge of the field of 
    view, let it drift almost to the center, then moved the scope to put the 
    star back on the east edge.  After a few minutes a point of light came into 
    view that wasn't moving with stars.  Success!
    I noted the time when the satellite was closest to the star.  Hmmm... 
    identification is a bit more difficult than I expected.  The most likely 
    candidate was AMC-2 or AMC-4, but three of the DirecTV satellites were also 
    As a rough estimate of magnitude, I used Heavensat's feature to control the 
    limiting magnitude of the displayed stars.  The satellite was about the same 
    magnitude as three stars in the field, which disappear when Heavensat visual 
    mag is 9.0, so I am guessing that the satellite magnitude was around 9. 
    These three stars for a triangle asterism northwest of Beta Aquarii, in the 
    same field of view.  For my latitude the geosynch sats pass through this 
    Various websites say Sadalsuud means "luckiest of the lucky" or "luck of 
    lucks."  Coincidence?
    Observation time: 2009 Sep 19 0413 UTC  (Friday night 9:13 PM local time 
    Tom Smith
    Anaheim, California, USA
    33.834N  117.919W
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