Satellite Map – watch satellites around the clock in real-time!
On a clear night, many artificial satellites move across the sky. They look like slowly moving stars and shimmer brightly. Normally, they take an average of 10 minutes to move from horizon to horizon. The International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Space Telescope are among the best-known objects orbiting the Earth. If you study the sky carefully at dawn or dusk, you probably won’t have to wait more than 15 minutes to see one of the more than 35000 satellites orbiting Earth.
How can satellites be observed?
In fact, most objects in Earth orbit are too small to see with the naked eye. Especially if they are debris. Nevertheless, there are a few hundred objects that can be seen without additional optical aids. This is true for satellites that are at least 6 meters tall and orbit the Earth at an altitude of about 160 km to 650 km.
Satellites have no external illumination. To see one of these objects, the satellite must reflect sunlight. Some of these flying objects have a series of solar panels, so they are especially easy to see because the light is reflected. In addition to providing all kinds of communication channels, they are also used for weather forecasting.
What kind of satellites are there?
There are two types of satellites, geostationary and polar orbiting. The latter are known for flying at low altitudes. They often orbit our planet within 100 minutes. Such satellites are en route to photograph the Earth or take other measurements.
Unfortunately, polar-orbiting craft do not allow continuous observation. Geostationary objects offer much better conditions here. They have the same speed as the earth’s rotation. Because these satellites hover in a certain area, they can be observed continuously.
Can satellites be seen with the naked eye?
Because of their orbits, low-flying objects have a precise time window in which they pass the observation site. The rest of the time, they are below the horizon and therefore not visible.
Unfortunately, an observation cannot be planned only according to the passing time, because the illumination of the flying object must also be taken into account. To see a satellite perfectly, the observer must be in the dark and the satellite in the light. For this reason, times just before sunrise or sunset are particularly suitable. The ISS can be seen without optical aids. It is ideal to be far away from disturbing light sources. Of course, a cloudless sky facilitates the sighting.
How to observe SpaceX’s Starlink satellites?
To provide low-cost Internet reception worldwide, SpaceX is planning a network of more than 12000 Starlink satellites in the first stage of expansion. Currently, about 2000 of these spacecraft orbit the Earth at altitudes of 440 to 550 kilometers. As they move across the night sky, these man-made crafts put on a spectacular sky show for observers on Earth.
To the eye, the SpaceX Starlink satellites appear like a train in the firmament as they move in a straight line across the sky. Currently, the objects orbit the Earth at 90-minute intervals. They are quite visible to the naked eye and make for a spectacular sight if you know where to look for them. To search for Starlink in the sky, a Satellite Tracker app (https://vitotechnology.com/apps/satellite-tracker) is recommended.
Track Starlink satellites from SpaceX live
Here you can track Starlink satelites in real time around the clock.
How many satellites does Starlink currently have?
On the first of September 2021, SpaceX reported that about 4500 satellites are online. However, due to a solar storm, about 50 of these crafts have fallen out of orbit. A Starlink satellite weighs about 260 kg and is about the size of a table. In one launch, the Falcom-9 rocket carries about 60 satellites into orbit.
Most of these artificial spacecraft are used for broadband Internet connectivity. Receiving dishes for a Starlink connection are currently available in the U.S. and Canada. Flight altitudes of 560 to 720 kilometers are planned for later generations.
When and where can you see the ISS?
The International Space Station (ISS) is a flying laboratory operated by many nations. The station flies at an altitude of about 400 kilometers and is easily visible from Earth. The large structure reflects incoming sunlight and appears as a brilliant bright point of light in the sky. According to NASA, the ISS is the brightest object in the night sky next to the moon and can even be observed within a city.
Even more so, the ISS is a great observation object for people in rural areas. Spotting the space station does not require any special equipment, as it can be seen with the naked eye. You just need to know where to look for it.
The ISS travels at a speed of 28000 km/h and completes 16 Earth orbits per day. The space station is visible because it reflects sunlight. During the day it is too bright; the best observation times are at dawn and dusk.
Current Live position of the ISS
This satellite map shows exactly the position and altitude of the International Space Station. The ISS is one of the easiest objects to observe in the night sky. If you want to know exactly where the space station is, you should use the satellite radar.
A virtual tour of the ISS space station can be found here.
Here you can see the current position of the International Space Station (ISS) in real-time.
Which satellite is farthest from Earth?
The spacecraft farthest from Earth is Voyager 1, which left our solar system at a distance of about 23 billion kilometers. It is followed by Voyager 2, which has already traveled 14 billion kilometers. These spacecraft are beyond the range of optical instruments. New Horizon is another spacecraft that will leave our solar system.
The James-Webb space telescope is also different from other spacecraft. According to NASA, the Hubble telescope orbits Earth at a distance of about 570 kilometers above the planet’s surface. The James-Webb telescope is stationed much farther from Earth than Hubble or other satellites. NASA’s newest telescope operates in orbit at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
Current position of Voyager 1
Voyager 1 is a NASA spacecraft and the most distant object from Earth, it is the first spacecraft to reach interstellar space.