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MA and Phase [was:Sorry...I wasn't paying attention]

RogerKola@aol.com wrote:

> Can someone recommend one or several tracking programs which directly 
> indicate MA's?...do MA's have another name that I might be overlooking like 
> Predict's use of "Phase"?

Phase and Mean Anomaly (MA) are basically the same thing, except that 
"Phase" explicitly means in units of 0-255, and Mean Anomaly is 
*supposed* to be in degrees.

But see the following explanation from

"Keplerian Elements Tutorial"


"Anomaly is yet another astronomer-word for angle. Mean anomaly is 
simply an angle that marches uniformly in time from 0 to 360 degrees 
during one revolution. It is defined to be 0 degrees at perigee, and 
therefore is 180 degrees at apogee.

"If you had a satellite in a circular orbit (therefore moving at 
constant speed) and you stood in the center of the earth and measured 
this angle from perigee, you would point directly at the satellite. 
Satellites in non-circular orbits move at a non-constant speed, so this 
simple relation doesn't hold. This relation does hold for two important 
points on the orbit, however, no matter what the eccentricity. Perigee 
always occurs at MA = 0, and apogee always occurs at MA = 180 degrees.

"It has become common practice with radio amateur satellites to use Mean 
Anomaly to schedule satellite operations. Satellites commonly change 
modes or turn on or off at specific places in their orbits, specified by 
Mean Anomaly. Unfortunately, when used this way, it is common to specify 
MA in units of 256ths of a circle instead of degrees! Some tracking 
programs use the term "phase" when they display MA in these units. It is 
still specified in degrees, between 0 and 360, when entered as an 
orbital element."

Short answer is: "Phase" as presented by PREDICT and SatTrack is really 
what everybody is talking about.

Next lesson: "squint angle"...or "off-pointing angle", for the 
fastidious. A lesson I'm learning right now. :-)

73 de Maggie K3XS
-----/___.   _)   Margaret Stephanie Leber    / "The art of progress  /
----/(, /|  /| http://voicenet.com/~maggie   / consists of preserving/
---/   / | / |  _   _   _    `  _AOPA 925383/ order amid change and /
--/ ) /  |/  |_(_(_(_/_(_/__(__(/_  FN20hd / change amid order."   /
-/ (_/   '  K3XS  .-/ .-/    ARRL 39280   /___ --A.N.Whitehead ___/
/____ICQ 7161096_(_/_(_/__AMSAT 32844____/ <maggie@voicenet.com>

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