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How accurate is Stellarium for Satellites?


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I'm up on the Scottish east coast for the Venus transit & I noticed in Stellarium that from here, the ISS will be visible crossing the moon at about 1.14 tonight.

I've heard that Stellarium isn't perfect for predicting satellite & I don't want to be standing on St Cyrus beach only to find I've missed it or look away too early thinking I've already missed it.

So... does anyone have experience using stellarium to track satellites? How accurate is it likely to be & can it be trusted?

Thanks in advance.

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it can be off a little bit but pretty good for such a bright object [you won't miss it ] you could try heavensabove.com that will give you a precise time altitiude etc for where you are .

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it can be off a little bit but pretty good for such a bright object [you won't miss it ] you could try heavensabove.com that will give you a precise time altitiude etc for where you are .

the website don't seem to be working

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It's pretty accurate , but you want to zoom right in to moon to check as you cannot tell from distant shot exactly whether satt will cross disc.

Only about a 5 mile ground track for transits so not a lot of room for error.

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Not sure , but ISS doesn't follow an RA arc so needs to track in both Ra and DEC.

I track with EQ mount ( fairly successfully , he lied !) by undoing both clutches and aiming scope like a gun .

Getting hundred or so frames out of 7000 about average so far.... it ain't easy...!

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Well, stellarium was pretty accurate after all. Bang on schedule, the ISS dived into the clouds obscuring the moon. Speedy little thing...

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I used Stellarium to give a rough estimate on where the ISS was before and it was right on the money. If you have iOS, Luminos is a great planetarium app that has support for A LOT more satellites, comes in pretty handy.

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One problem with Stellarium is that it will show you when a sattellite is due to pass overhead, but not whether it will be visible. For some middle of the night passes the sun is too far below the horizon to illuminate the sattellite (not so much of a problem this time of year). This site gives good accurate data of when you can actually see the ISS http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html

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One problem with Stellarium is that it will show you when a sattellite is due to pass overhead, but not whether it will be visible. For some middle of the night passes the sun is too far below the horizon to illuminate the sattellite (not so much of a problem this time of year). This site gives good accurate data of when you can actually see the ISS http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html

I'm pretty sure Stellarium lets you know when it's visible. I've had a few satellites say they were eclipsed before.

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  • 3 years later...

Hi all.

My first post on your forum, but I've been lurking here for a while.  Sorry to resurrect this old post, but I'm hoping to capture the ISS transiting the sun on Friday if the weather allows. Calsky tells me that I should be able to catch the transit of I position myself just south of Taunton (UK) at 17:01.29s BST on friday, but Stellarium doesn't concur? According to Stellarium the ISS passes close to the sun a few minute prior.

Any ideas as to which might be most accurate?

Thanks 

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31 minutes ago, joncrawf said:

Hi all.

My first post on your forum, but I've been lurking here for a while.  Sorry to resurrect this old post, but I'm hoping to capture the ISS transiting the sun on Friday if the weather allows. Calsky tells me that I should be able to catch the transit of I position myself just south of Taunton (UK) at 17:01.29s BST on friday, but Stellarium doesn't concur? According to Stellarium the ISS passes close to the sun a few minute prior.

Any ideas as to which might be most accurate?

Thanks 

Welcome to the forum Jon

I would tend to favour Calsky in terms of accuracy. Thanks for the heads up actually, seems like this transit should be visible from my house too! Clouds permitting of course.....

Skysafari also agrees with Calsky so it looks positive

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Calsky definitely more accurate , check here for the centre-line to use to best position yourself . only about a 4 mile shadow-line so the nearer to the line you are the more centralised the satellite will be on the disc ... http://www.calsky.com/?Transitline=&showhome=&obs=89642206866210&tdt=2457494.16844434&sat=25544&interval=0.00011574&step=0.00000231&mainbody=0

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