• An Optics Field Site for Auroral Studies

      Clark, K. C.; Romick, G. J. (Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, 1958-07)
      The earlier orbits and ephemerides for the Soviet satellites were not sufficiently accurate to be very useful in making observations in Alaska. Extrapolations from our own observations gave better predictions. This merely pointed out the fact that rough observations of meridian transits at high latitudes will give better values of the inclination of the orbit than precision observations at low latitudes. Hence, it was decided to observe visually the meridian transits estimating the altitude by noting the position with respect to the stars or using crude alidade measurements. The times of the earlier observations were observed on a watch or clock and the clock correction obtained from WWV. Later the times were determined with the aid of stop watches, taking time intervals from WWV signals. This rather meager program of optical observations of the Soviet satellites was undertaken to give supplementary data for use of the radio observations, and particularly to assist in the prediction of position of the satellite so that the 61-foot radar of Stanford Research Institute could be set accurately enough to observe it (the beam width at the half-power points is about 3°). This report contains primarily the visual observations made at the Geophysical Institute by various members of the staff, and a series of observations by Olaf Halverson at Nome, Alaska. In addition there is a short discussion of the geometry of the trajectory, the illumination of a circumpolar satellite, and a note on the evaluation of Brouwer's moment factors.