Friday, 24 February 2006

First observations at the new location!

After a long period with grey skyscapes and generally uncomfy weather, the skies turned into a beautiful blue today. So I ran Quicksat to see what passes I could target.

Only low passes (all below 50 degrees altitude) were available. Lacrosse 3 turned out to be just too faint at this low pass. The Lacrosse 5 Rocket body (2005-016B, #28647) however, was well visible, passing just under Polaris at 48 degrees altitude. It varied in brightness between roughly +2.0 and +3.0. The trail showed up well enough on the image to measure it and yield good results.

This is a perfect example of a pass that could not have been targetted at my old location (which, remember, had no view to the north).

I had some trouble initially with Astrorecord, who it seemed could not get a good fit on the stars. After only a few stars, it started to report outrageous fits of 99'98" and all kinds of strange messages popped up. Initially, I thought this might be due to the fact that I was measuring stars strewn around the celestial pole. After some time however, it transpired that one single misidentification (!) of a star f***** up the fit: I had mistaken 24 Cas for 18 Cas (Cassiopeia was at the edge of the frame). With that corrected, the fits yielded the typical 30" accuracy.

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