Jump to content


Photo

Satellite Spotting 101: Software and Basic Gear.

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 Charlie Hein

Charlie Hein

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 12359
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2003
  • Loc: 26.06.08N, +80.23.08W

Posted 24 August 2013 - 10:38 AM

Satellite Spotting 101: Software and Basic Gear.

By Obin Robinson

#2 PhaedrusUpshaw

PhaedrusUpshaw

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 248
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2012
  • Loc: Southwestern Indiana

Posted 24 August 2013 - 04:16 PM

Great article Obin, I started spotting satellites about a week after I got my first scope, a 10 inch Dob and have found it rather addictive. I am looking forward to you posting more articles about this fascinating aspect of astronomy. Clear skies to all and of course, "Keep looking up!"
Bill

#3 obin robinson

obin robinson

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2667
  • Joined: 25 Oct 2012
  • Loc: League City, TX

Posted 24 August 2013 - 06:27 PM

Thanks! I am glad you enjoy spotting satellites as much as I do. It is a nice way to pass the time indeed. In the future I will write more articles highlighting my favorites as well as satellites which will be decaying and re entering the atmosphere. Further into the future I will highlight gear used to photograph them.

I am glad you enjoyed the article. Clear skies to you!

Obin :cool:

#4 AstroTatDad

AstroTatDad

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1034
  • Joined: 22 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Los Angeles - San Diego

Posted 25 August 2013 - 01:22 AM

Way to go Obin :bow:

#5 astrophile

astrophile

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 298
  • Joined: 30 Jun 2013
  • Loc: Chaise-lounge, 18x50s in hand...

Posted 26 August 2013 - 10:49 PM

Interesting article, thanks! Looking forward to next installments.

#6 csvella

csvella

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 12
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2011

Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:42 PM

Thoroughly enjoyed your article as well. Seeing Iridium flares way back sparked an interest for me as well- leading to a hobby and career. I too look forward to your future installments!

#7 obin robinson

obin robinson

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2667
  • Joined: 25 Oct 2012
  • Loc: League City, TX

Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:07 AM

Thanks for the great feedback everyone! The next installments are going to deal with narrowing down your viewing and finding your favorites. There is also some nice custom satellite tracking software in the works (not from me but from others) and it will make viewing easier. I have lots of new articles planned but I want to give people a chance to try out the software I suggested as well as develop a knack for tracking satellites.

One thing I did last night for example is view most of the satellites through a 9mm eyepiece. I tracked them all in the ST-80 on the camera tripod easily. The flare off of the ISS was so bright last night that I wish I had a moon filter handy! It was at least -8 if not brighter!

Stay tuned and clear skies to everyone!

obin :jump:

#8 A. Viegas

A. Viegas

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1091
  • Joined: 05 Mar 2012
  • Loc: New York City/ CT

Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:32 PM

Obin,

Is it possible to track the satellite with a GOTO mount? I do not own a small tripod setup like a versa mount, so is it possible? are any satellites in higher orbits that have slower rates of motion that you can use the slewing speeds on your mount to follow across the sky??



Al

#9 obin robinson

obin robinson

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2667
  • Joined: 25 Oct 2012
  • Loc: League City, TX

Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:55 PM

Al,

It is possible and some mounts like the LX200 even have dedicated satellite tracking software available for them. I have tracked satellites using my lxd55 and my ds2000. The medium slew speeds were adequate. I will cover this in another upcoming article.

obin :cool:

#10 rtomw77

rtomw77

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1083
  • Joined: 06 Oct 2004
  • Loc: Deer Valley, AZ

Posted 29 August 2013 - 03:55 AM

Obin,

Thanks for the nice article. I've been using Heavens Above for years, and your post will help me expand in this area.

Looking forward to more,

Tom

#11 TG

TG

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1312
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Latitude 47

Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:12 PM

Interesting, useful *and* well written, which is a rarity nowadays in the era of text messaging.

Regards,

Tanveer

#12 Muffin

Muffin

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 20
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Pinelands-near Cape Town,South Africa

Posted 28 September 2013 - 02:06 AM

Good morning - nice to see there is some interest in satellite spotting- a hobby that has kept me busy since I first observed Sputnik 1 rocket some 56 years ago. I am still very active, primarily doing positional work on classified satellites so that the orbits may be derived and concentrating mainly on high altitude (> 300000 km) objects. I attach a few photographs taken with some of my equipment. Best wishes, Greg

Attached Files



#13 Muffin

Muffin

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 20
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Pinelands-near Cape Town,South Africa

Posted 28 September 2013 - 02:08 AM

The picture shows one of the telescopes used - a SKYWATCHER 4 inch f/5 refractor with FLI8300M CCD camera mounted on a homemade GOTO mount which can automatically track any satellite from my control room some 50-60 feet away.

Attached Files



#14 Muffin

Muffin

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 20
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Pinelands-near Cape Town,South Africa

Posted 28 September 2013 - 02:10 AM

This picture of a leo sateillite waas done using the same set-up but telescope was a 135mm focal length f/2.8 lens with the FLI8300M CCD camera.

Attached Files



#15 Muffin

Muffin

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 20
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Pinelands-near Cape Town,South Africa

Posted 28 September 2013 - 02:13 AM

The image above shows several geostationary satellites visible from my location. Note there is one unknown which is probably a lost rocket in GTO orbit. The 4 inch refractor was used. Stars are trailed because system was stationary.

Attached Files



#16 Muffin

Muffin

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 20
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Pinelands-near Cape Town,South Africa

Posted 28 September 2013 - 02:15 AM

Todays final position is an easy object - OTV3 which is a sort of mini unmanned "space shuttle". Best wishes, Greg






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics