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Satellite Tracking Software???

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#1 MrKrink

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:18 PM

What is the best and easiest free satellite tracking software to use with a telescope, where to get it and how do you use it??

#2 Lorence

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:31 PM

Satellite tracker

http://tech.groups.y...tellitetracker/

It's free. If you want the best and easiest your on your own. If you want learn how to use it read the manual.

Lorence

#3 MrKrink

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:44 PM

How do you download it?? Looks to me like you have to join the group to access the file and I don't care to. Is there now a site to download it from??

#4 WillCarney

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:49 PM

If you are using Cartes du Ciel it will do some satellite tracking. It's free if you don't have it. You do have to download a number of star and catalog files but it's worth it. Once you got it running hit the calendar in the toolbar. It will have a satellite section where you hit refresh. You need to be connected to the web of course. Won't track all satellites but it will do the brightest, flares and major one's.
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#5 MrKrink

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 03:35 PM

If you are using Cartes du Ciel it will do some satellite tracking. It's free if you don't have it. You do have to download a number of star and catalog files but it's worth it. Once you got it running hit the calendar in the toolbar. It will have a satellite section where you hit refresh. You need to be connected to the web of course. Won't track all satellites but it will do the brightest, flares and major one's.
William


Yes,I do, I just downloaded it yesterday. Haven't got a chance to go over it good yet.

#6 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 06:46 PM

Yes, you must register to join the group? What's the problem? It's totally free and very usable software, and the people on the forum can help you use it. Most all Yahoo groups require you to join the group.

I have never seen the SAT software anywhere but there- they CREATED it.

#7 MrKrink

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 07:56 PM

No problem I guess, I am just a member of too many yahoo groups already and get waaaaay too much email from them that I have to wade through that I don't need.

#8 Lorence

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 09:32 PM

No problem I guess, I am just a member of too many yahoo groups already and get waaaaay too much email from them that I have to wade through that I don't need.


On the Yahoo group main page click edit membership.

At Step 2 select Web Only - Don't get notified of the latest happenings. Read messages only on the web.

No emails from that group after that.

Lorence

#9 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 09:07 AM

as Lorence said you can TURN OFF the email notification completely.

#10 MrKrink

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 09:13 AM

OK, I will have to check on that. Hadn't got that deep into them.

#11 Markovich

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 12:19 PM

I have that app on my Macbook ( running Windows in Parallels) and connected to a Celestron Nexstar 5i. Works great. Important to note on some apps that claim satellite tracking. Some only do "frog hopping" tracking,meaning they will slew the scope to a point in the track of the satellite and you'll be able to watch it zoom by. But actual real time tracking is different animal. This app does indeed do real time tracking.

#12 JAT Observatory

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 06:42 PM

The leap frogging that you describe is a function of the telescope.

For instance if I use Sat Tracker on my old ETX 90 it will only run it leap frog mode, but when used with my LX200GPS the software works in full track mode.

I use Sat Tracker on my Meade mounts, but I use the satellite tracking feature of TheSky6 on the Paramount. It's really a joy to use as you just click on the satellite you are interested in and comfirm you want to track it. It will slew the scope to that satellite, set the tracking rate of the mount in Ra & Dec, and then begins tracking.

The downside is it only works on Bisque mounts, which is ashame because it works very well.

#13 Michael A. Earl

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 08:27 PM

The downside is it only works on Bisque mounts...


...and Meades (LX-200 series at least)

#14 Michael A. Earl

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 08:32 PM

Some only do "frog hopping" tracking,meaning they will slew the scope to a point in the track of the satellite and you'll be able to watch it zoom by. But actual real time tracking is different animal. This app does indeed do real time tracking.


"Frog Hopping" gives you more information in most cases. If you like trying to get detail on the ISS, fine, however, if you want to do satellite photometry (for tumble periods, etc.), then "Frog Hopping" is the best way to go.

Real time tracking only gives you a dot and a bunch of streaks (stars). There is not much you can do with that.

Besides, if you want to do "real-time tracking" without any software, just do geostationary satellites. The Earth tracks them for you! At an orbit altitude of 36,000km, you would need a very high resolution CCD to get any detail I'm afraid!

#15 Markovich

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 08:38 PM

All true, but if you want to image the ISS or Shuttle for example, you need real tracking. The leap frogging is also an example of software, in addition to hardware.

#16 JAT Observatory

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:02 PM

The downside is it only works on Bisque mounts...


...and Meades (LX-200 series at least)



The LX200 mounts do have the ability to track sats in real-time from either the handbox control or with some 3rd party software but TheSky6 is not one of them.

The "Track Satellites" mount control function in TheSky6 only works on mounts that use a Software Bisque control system. The "Track Satellites" box is grayed out for all mounts except Bisque mounts.

#17 Lorence

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 01:49 PM

The downside is it only works on Bisque mounts...


...and Meades (LX-200 series at least)


TheSky 6 tracking satellites with a Meade LX ??

I'd be grateful if you could tell me how to do it.

Lorence

#18 Edward E

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 02:24 PM

The downside is it only works on Bisque mounts...


...and Meades (LX-200 series at least)


TheSky 6 tracking satellites with a Meade LX ??

I'd be grateful if you could tell me how to do it.

Lorence


Here is the link to "Tom Corner" @ The Sky 6 Pro on how to set things up: Sky Pro 6 Sat Tracking
:dob:

#19 Michael A. Earl

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 09:13 PM

TheSky 6 tracking satellites with a Meade LX ??

I'd be grateful if you could tell me how to do it.


I only did it once with a friend's Meade LX-200GPS 14-inch when I was testing out a remote control capability I built for him. I attempted to track the ISS using TheSky6. The buttons were not greyed out. I do not remember if I actually could track it accurately or not, but I do remember that the scope was moving with the ISS and I could correct for RA and Dec offsets.

Unfortunately, I only did it once. It was at a time when TheSky6 was first released, so it could be possible that bugs were there such that the LX-200GPS could use that feature but not track anything accurately.

It was about 4 years ago, so memories are sketchy.

I do remember that it could be done back then. This is why I even said anything about it here.

#20 Lorence

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 09:26 PM

[

TheSky 6 tracking satellites with a Meade LX ??

I'd be grateful if you could tell me how to do it.

Lorence


Here is the link to "Tom Corner" @ The Sky 6 Pro on how to set things up: Sky Pro 6 Sat Tracking
:dob:


Thanks for the link Ed.

I've tried to use TheSky 6 to track with my Meade with little success. I can click on a satellite in TheSky 6 and the Meade will slew to that point. About all I have been able to do is to leap frog in front of the satellite.

With Meade selected as the telescope type, in the Tracking Satellite Object Information box the Set Tracking Rate and Track Satellite fields are greyed out. I was hoping you may have had a fix for that.

Lorence

#21 JAT Observatory

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 09:11 AM

The TheSky6 Track Satellite commands aren’t formatted in the Meade command set.

But it would be fairly easy to write a script that works within TheSky6 that performs the Leap Frog method of tracking satellites by pulling the RA and Dec tracking rates for the satellite you wish to track and send it periodically to scope connected. Of course the frequency of the updates needed would depend on the velocity of the satellite in RA and Dec.

This method already works for objects like the sun, moon, planets & comets etc that have tracking rates different than deepspace objects such as stars, nebula etc. By using the objTheSky6.GetObjectRADec(szObject) and objTele.SlewToRaDec(objTheSky6.dObjectRa,objTheSky6.dObjectDec,szObject) call functions you can get the scope to track an object in a “leap frog” type mode.

I’ll have to play with one of my existing scripts for Sun, Moon or planet tracking with satellite data. The real slick trick would to be able to modify the LX200 Dec tracking rate via a script from within TheSky6. That would then allow you to smoothly mimic the “Track Satellite” feature. But as I said the “Track Satellite” function only works with mounts that use a Bisque control system. I know the TheSky5 level IV was the same way.

#22 JAT Observatory

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:47 AM

Ok, I went off and played with the script I use for Sun tracking. I modified the script so it would track one of the GPS satellites in "Leap Frog" mode.

Since I'm a lazy SOB didn't feel like actually draging out my one of my Meade mounts I used the telescope simulator within the sky. Since the simulator is very generic this should work with any goto mount the is connected to TheSky not just a Meade mount.

The script is crude as you have to manually input the name of the satellite in the code. I could have made a pop up text box that would query the user but again as I said I'm lazy. This was really just a proof of concept.

The key for this to work is you must load a satellite data base into TheSky for the script to work. Also the name of the satellite must be specified correctly in order for TheSky to find it. In this case I used the GPS BIIRM-5 (PRN 29) satellite, but I had to place the letters Sat in frot of the name so TheSky6 knew what data list to use. If you don't do that the script will return a object not found error message.

The script is set to slew to scope every 5 seconds. Depending on the speed of the satellite you will have to change this to whatever value needed to keep the satellite within the telescope's FOV.

So to use this script do the following:

-Using a program like notepad paste this script in and save it.
-From the Data tab within TheSky6 select Satellite from the menu.
-Select Import From Web.
- Select the type of satellite you are interested in from the list.
Once the satellites are load and you see one on TheSky6 display you want track click on it to get the name that TheSky6 uses for that satellite.
-Enter the name of the satellite you selected with the letters Sat in front into the line in the script that starts with Const szObject =.
-Be sure you include the "
Connect the scope to TheSky6
-Find the script you saved and double click it.

The script will now slew the scope to the satellite and re-slew the scope every 5 seconds. if you want to slews to occur more or less frequently change the value in the Const AlignSeconds = Do not use any quotes.

This script assumes Microsoft's wscript is installed on your windows machine




Option Explicit

Dim objTheSky6
Dim objTele
Dim Dur
Dim szMark

Const AlignSeconds = 5 'The number of seconds between slews
Const szObject = "Sat GPS BIIRM-5 (PRN 29)"

Set objTheSky6 = WScript.CreateObject("Thesky6.RASCOMTheSky")
Set objTele = WScript.CreateObject("Thesky6.RASCOMTele")

Call objTheSky6.Connect()
Call objTele.Connect()

Do
Dur = DateDiff("s",szMark,Now())

if (Dur>=AlignSeconds) then


Call objTheSky6.GetObjectRADec(szObject)
Call objTele.SlewToRaDec(objTheSky6.dObjectRa,objTheSky6.dObjectDec,szObject)
szMark = Now()
end if

Loop

Set objTheSky = Nothing
Set objTele = Nothing

#23 Lorence

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 03:38 PM

Ok, I went off and played with the script I use for Sun tracking. I modified the script so it would track one of the GPS satellites in "Leap Frog" mode.


Much appreciated Marcus. I have to get into scripting to automate some of the routine functions of my observatory and intend to have it operating fully roboticlly eventually.

The observatory is under construction, I've temporarily moved my telescope into the house and am staging all the equipment in my living room with a somewhat limited view out of the front windows. It is, or at least was working well enough that I was ready to move back outside.

As usual I take a two steps forward then get pushed back three. I have two PC's set up to run the observatory equipment. One for control and positioning the other for imaging. The control PC went south a few days ago. It was backed up but unfortunately there's a lot to reload and issues to re-resolve. I just received a new Mallincam VSS camera complete with an RS-232 cable for remote control. The camera worked but the RS-232 remote control didn't. Then the PC went bye bye. :( :(

If that's not bad enough I've been involved in sports all my life as a player, coach, league convener etc. etc. etc. and the Olympics opened last night. Beside building the observatory I built my house and am I'm still the process of finishing it off.

One full plate.

Again thanks for the script. It will be a fun way to break the ice and get some experience scripting. I did a lot of programing years ago so it shouldn't be too difficult.

There's always a bit of room left on the plate.

Gotta go. The dogs are looking at me, this is cutting into their walk time.

Thanks again

Lorence

#24 JAT Observatory

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 04:19 PM

Lorence,
You really have a lot on your plate. I do hope the script is of some benifit when you get you setup all squared away.

I got a couple from emails about this script already (for others) that I'll address here.

1. You can about the script by selecting "cancel" during the slew. You can also terminate it by using the task manager and shutting down the wscript process.

2. The script will continue to slew the scope until one of the limit within TheSky are exceeded. If you have no limits set the slew will continue until the object reaches the horizon.

3. Can put in object name you want on the Const szObject = line, just be sure the object name is enclosed in quotes and the name is a valid name in within the sky. This includes the Sun, moon, planets, asteroid, comet, nebula, ufos, black holes and alien bases. The best way to verify a valid name is to use the "Find" function in TheSky. If the object can't be located using the Find function, the script isn't going to work.

4. Yes the Sun will work. See above. Be careful when using the Sun as a target from this script as it will not warn you that you are going to slew your scope to the Sun, nor will it ask you to comfirm the slew.

5. Yes the script can be changed to ask you the object and the slew time :grin: You can also create script named by object Sun, Moon, jupiter etc., the the name and time hardwaired in the script.

Hope this helps.


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