Re: Why do people look at satellites?

From: James Lloyd (
Date: Mon Sep 19 2011 - 23:09:14 UTC

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    Hello to all,
    well, in the past observing satellites challenged me, whereas today it might challenge governments as I remember a former thread.
    I myself commenced with satellite observing in 1984 during a kind of sabbatical between school & university. By that time I tried to transform the TLE-Data into transit predictions using my HP-41CX calculator from scratch - and failed. However I studied physics (for other reasons) and some months ago I retried the project. I didn't succeed yet for numerical problems, but I think I'm quite close to the solution.
    Of course with modern programs, predictions are no longer a problem and using numerical standard procedures fitting TLEs into observations obviously works quite well, but in many cases the power of paper & pencil is sufficient to solve such a highly sophisticated problem. It's always fascinating how easily friends can be impressed if you see a satellite (e.g. the brightly visible ISS) and predict using only your thumb and a stopwatch when and in about which part of the sky it will reappear during its next orbit.
    Kind Regards,
    -------- Original-Nachricht --------
    > Datum: Thu, 8 Sep 2011 13:30:20 -0700
    > Von: Roger <>
    > An: SeeSat-L <>
    > Betreff: Why do people look at satellites?
    > Just wondering, what's the reason some of you watch satellites, work
    > related?  Purely hobbiest?
    > Any goals for people,anybody have a 'must see' list they try to
    > complete?   I've been lurking for a few years, so I know some of you
    > specialize in types of satellites.   Even if I don't post, I do
    > appreciate some of the observations people make.
    > I first started intentionally seeking out satellites back in Sky-lab
    > days.    Later on, after the shuttle missions started, I started
    > watching those when I could.    I did manage to catch the Mir before
    > it came back down.
    > Lately, I've been more of a watcher, than try to figure out what I
    > saw.   I do want to try for the hubble when I'm far enough south, but
    > usually have to wait for vacation for that.
    > ~44N  ~123W
    > Roger
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