Tales of the Lazy Stargazer
Volume One, Number Six
TeleVue © Satellite Catcher
By Alan Rifkin (The Lazy Star Gazer)
When viewing the heavens, do those specks of light that zoom by intrigue you? Do you want to get a view of one? Are you working on your EOSOC (Earth Orbiting Satellite Observers Club) certificate? Do you want to keep an eye on the Russians and see what they are doing on the ISS? If you answered yes any to these questions, then you need the TeleVue © Satellite Catcher.
Trying to catch a Sat with just a finder scope is next to impossible. They just move to fast for you find it in the finder, then find it in the scope, track and change to a high power eyepiece, all in a short amount of time.
How to use the Sat Catcher
You use two eyepieces. One is your lowest power 1.25" eyepiece. I use a TeleVue 32mm Plossl. The other gets the highest power that conditions allow. I use a TeleVue 10.5mm Plossl. You dominant eye gets higher power. The two eyepieces need to be para-focal, in that they focus together. TeleVue eyepieces are great for that because of their high precision.
Next you can either wait till you spot a satellite or you can use your computer to tell you what satellite will be where and when. If you use a computer, there are many programs (one is available free at the EOSOC home page) to calculate when Sats will be in your area or web sites to visit that will tell you what is up above you at any given time, such as www heavens-above.com. If you choose to run your own program, make sure that you down load the latest table of two-line elements (elsets) for that program. Once you know when and where a Sat will be, spot it with your naked eye, then close your dominant eye and try to find it with your telescope. When you have it, just open you dominant eye and close the other. With a little practice, you will be able to work with both eyes open and you will get to see the ISS at high magnification.
You can also use the Sat Catcher in the Bino-Vue mode by inserting two eyepiece of the same power and type. Because you are accustomed to using both eyes to look at things, your brain interprets images three dimensionally. With the Sat Catcher, objects will appear brighter and you will experience less eye strain. Some objects will also appear to be in 3D. Take a look at M13 and you will be amazed.
All contents © 1996-2001 by Alan Rifkin. All Rights Reserved.