Suppose you are an amateur astronomer and you want to track a satellite or know when it will be visible over a certain spot? Or you want to calculate the location of the moon on a certain night? If you have a Mac or Unix/Linux box, then wonder no more.
I installed John A. Magliacane's Predict program on my MacBook Pro and wrote down a few notes in case anyone else wants to try it.
- Install Xtools if it is not already installed.
- Make sure you have the ncurses library. (Do a "man ncurses" to check. It should be part of the Xtools package.)
- Make sure you have a c compiler. (Do a "which cc" to check.)
- Download the latest predict tar file from http://www.qsl.net/kd2bd/predict.html
- Untar the package. cd into the predict-2.2.X directory.
- For a Mac running OS X, the soundcard library can trip you up. Delete the "#include
" line from installer.c
- type "./configure" (don't ask why typing "configure" doesn't work)
- If you want to track a satellite that is not in the standard file, create a *.tle file using default/predict.tle as a template. You can download two elements (TLE) for a variety of satellites at www.celestrak.com. For the uninitiated, they even explain what a two line element is.
- Create a custom ground station site *.qth using default/predict.qth as a template. Remember that predict uses degrees west.
- Invoke predict and your non-default files (using your filenames): "predict -q losangeles.qth -t dmsp.tle"
- Invoke logging by typing L to toggle logging on/off. Your logfile will appear in SATNAME.txt