Artificial Earth Satellites

When you hear about space, what comes to your mind? Constellations, planets, deep space, black holes. But what about human-made objects in space? In this article, we will tell you what other space objects deserve attention, how to observe them daily, and why it is useful to study astronomy.

Space exploration has started from the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite named Sputnik 1. The first living beings who performed an orbital flight and safely returned home (spoiler alert — not Yuri Gagarin), the first moon landing, the International Space Station launch, Mars exploration — these are the examples of the most well-known space projects. The work on space studies continues nowadays.

What is an Earth satellite?

  • Exploration of other planets;
  • Conduction of scientific experiments;
  • Climate control (weather, natural disasters);
  • Providing communication on the Earth and more.

Artificial satellites are primarily needed for scientific research and technological progress. But for those who enjoy stargazing, they are also worthy.

The largest and brightest human-made object in orbit is the International Space Station. It’s a multitasking space complex. The ISS can shine as vividly as Venus, with an apparent magnitude of -4.5, which is 16 times more intense than the brightest star Sirius.

Satellites may flash brightly due to the “sunbeams” effect when the Sun’s rays reflect off their panels. The first generation of Iridium communications satellites had antennas that transmitted data to the Earth. When the antennas reflected sunlight onto the Earth’s surface, an observer could see them shining at a magnitude -8 in the sky, which is 30 times brighter than the maximum brightness of Venus.

How do I track satellites?

The updated Satellite Tracker gives you access to the full satellite database. You can make a list of all tracked satellites, so they will always be displayed on the map, and a timer will show how much time is left until the next pass. In order not to miss them in the sky above you, use the convenient notification system and set up multiple reminders. Besides, a list of all passes, not only visible ones, and a graph of the satellite’s height above the horizon are also available now.

Observing satellites in the sky is not easy. They fly over us in the morning and in the evening, but even the dark time doesn’t guarantee perfect visibility — the Earth’s shadow may hide satellites.

Why study astronomy?

  • Astronomy uses other sciences, like physics and geology, so it will help you broaden your knowledge of these fields.
  • It trains you to follow schedule and self-discipline: to avoid missing a phenomenon that occurs once every 7000 years, you have to keep track of time.
  • It teaches different skills that are useful in life, like navigation by the stars.
  • It helps to study the climate, its changes on Earth. Due to this, starting from school, children will be aware of the man’s influence on our planet.

Satellite Tracker was updated for the school year’s beginning as part of the Back to School campaign, to provide people with knowledge about space and the human contribution to this world.

Stay tuned, study astronomy, and keep up with the latest news!

Point your device at the sky and see what stars, constellations, and satellites you are looking at 🌌✨