REPOSITORY : Automating Little Nighttime Obsessions
Automating Little Nighttime Obsessions (2006 - 2008)
automated satellite spotting - catering to the satellite peeper in you

Are you curious of the whereabouts of IRIDIUM, ENVISAT, and LACROSS? Are you wary of HELIOS, CFESAT, ESSAIM and - yes - US193? Do you wonder what all those satellites are doing, circling above us incessantly? Then you are a closet satellite peeper and Autolino (Automating Little Nighttime Obsessions) is for you.

Autolino allows the lazy but satellite-obsessed to set up a telescope with a camera to scan the skies at night for orbiting spacecraft. An offshoot of the MakeLanguage project, part III Autowow, Autolino uses opensource software and mostly cheap hardware to open the sky to your little obsessions. Oh yes, you do need a little patience in setting things up and getting all the parts to work; well worth the effort, however. As the satellite voyeur you are, I hardly need to convince you of that.

The boxes to the right contain all the information you need to get started: Gathering satellite trajectories from the internet, calculating the position of satellites in the night sky, controlling a hobbyist telescope (I use the LX200 series), moving the telescope into position to catch a satellite, capturing images of the sky when the satellite transitions, processing the images and storing them to disk.

cookbook: how to catch a satellite

startup routines

get satellite positions

telescope control primitives

telescope motion control

mathematical routines

ephem routines

image capture

related project