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Re: Optical Tracking?


I've got a a telescope mount with great positioning accuracy (on the
order of 10 arc minutes or so).  What would be helpful is a back-of-the
envelope computation of what the apparent motion of the satellite is,
say within a 1 degree field of view, and if we'd be likely to see
enough blinks during that time to get meaningful measurements.   So,
we could part our telescope on a part of the sky, and wait for PCsat
to fly through the field, rather than trying to actively track it.

I don't recall what the computed apparent magnitude was likely to be; but
I suspect that with my 6" f/7 refractor, I ought to be able to see it.
Visually, even in my light polluted area, I can go to at least mag 9 or

Alternatively, if the apparent motion is small enough, I should be able
to do a long-exposure CCD integration and see the light come and go.
Working backwards, the blinking rate should be computable.  Even with
a 70mm f/6.8 scope, giving a much larger field of view, I suspect the
CCD camera would be able to image the beacon blinking on and off.

I'd be interested in trying something like this, please let me know 
if you continue to pursue this approach.


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