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Re: Optical COmms experiment

> Would a "strobe" light of some kind provide better margins due to
> it peak power output? Maybe incorporate a small parabolic reflector
> to focus the beam a bit... Instead of CW, maybe it could send "Real
> Morse," which would be compatible with short duration light flashes.
> We could have a LOT of fun with small telescopes hooked to CCD's.
> My hand made, wide field, 6" f4 newtonian is gathering dust :)

I dunno if a astronomical CCD camera would be all that useful for
this application; mine take one the order 10 or 20 seconds to
read a frame out.  They're optimized for long duration integrations.

On the other hand, if you took a 1 minute long integration, you should
be able to see the trail of the spacecraft with the CW manifesting
as dots and dashes..  Hmm.

> Imagine putting that tube on my AZ-EL boom!

Imagine putting a small helix on my (soon to arrive) Astro-Physics
900GTO mount!  (http://www.astro-physics.com/products/mounts/900gto/900gto.htm)
With a pointing accuracy measured in arc-minutes, that could work 
pretty well :-)  If I could figure a way to piggy-back it on my
AP Star 12ED, I could collect the optical photons as well as the RF ones
at the same time.

Seriously though, is anyone doing work on building hardware to
received the IR LASER on AO-40?  I'm curious what sort of detector
would be appropriate?  I've got a bunch of instruments I could image
through of from an f/6.8 70mm achromic refractor, 120mm f/8 
aprochromatic refractor and a 235mm f/10 SCT.  I'm not sure
what size detectors are available to then determine what's the
best focal length to use and what tracking accuracy is required.

The 900GTO german equitorial mount I'll be receiving this summer is
highly optimized for astronomical applictions and tracking a satellite
will require a continuous set of corrections.


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