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    Re: automatic celestial navigation
    From: Gary LaPook
    Date: 2007 Dec 6, 12:28 -0800

    Gary LaPook writes:
    
    If I understand you correctly you will get the altitude of the
    satellite by calculating or measuring the altitude of a star that it
    passes nearby......Why not just use the altitude of the star in the
    first place, kinda like normal celestial navigation?
    
    
    gl
    
    On Dec 6, 11:55 am, frankr...{at}HistoricalAtlas.net wrote:
    > Apologies for drifting off-topic here...
    >
    > There's another way to do automatic navigation: you let the satellite find
    > YOU. Ships at sea are easy to detect. A handful of satellites can track
    > every vessel on the face of the Earth assuming they're emitting some radio
    > noise (the electrical systems of any modern ship's engine produce enough
    > radio noise). Then when you need your position, you call up the satellite
    > and ask. And needless to say, you can ask it to tell you where your
    > "friends" are, too. There have been reports of such systems in actual use
    > for years. There are sets of satellites, supposedly operated by the US NRO,
    > that travel together in small groups. It's a bit eery: you can see three
    > little "stars" gliding across the sky together in a triangle a few degrees
    > across if you know where and when to look (google "NOSS trios").
    >
    > Speaking of satellites, how about using them for small-craft navigation?
    > And, no, not GPS satellites. I'm talking about visual observations of low
    > orbit satellites. Satellite positions are as predictable as the Moon's, as
    > long as you avoid objects which maneuver frequently, like the International
    > Space Station. And if using a computer isn't cheating, then you can get a
    > line of position by observing a satellite's position in the sky (I'm
    > picturing tracking it with binoculars and looking for close approaches to
    > moderately bright stars). If I observe a satellite that's 500 nautical miles
    > above me, and if I can get its position relative to some star accurate to a
    > tenth of a degree, which should be possible, then I can get a line of
    > position accurate to about 1 nautical mile. If I have a rough DR position to
    > start with, there shouldn't be any problem with mistaken satellite
    > identities.
    >
    >  -FER
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