Thursday, May 12, 2016

Collection of Satellite Images and Videos

I keep getting asked for pictures of satellites by #FlatEarthers I'm talking with. Rather than find them each time, here's a collection. The gif was from reddit.

Amateur Videos Showing Satellites

I'm not sure which satellites these are, but they're geostationary over Switzerland.  This sort of imaging is surprisingly easy to do (this guy does it VERY well!).  Just get a camera, a tripod, and take  5-10 sec exposures all night of the plane where the moon, sun, and planets pass.  Stitch them all together and you'll notice that some don't move.  Those are geostationary satellites.  You can figure out which ones they are with a bit of extra math.
Geostationary satellites in the Swiss Alps from Michael Kunze on Vimeo.

This guy wasn't even really trying, but when he co-adds frames (go make the streaking effect), it jumps right out.There's a clear GEO satellite near the top of the frame, about 40% in from  the left.

A Starry Night of Mt.Kilimanjaro from kwon, o chul on Vimeo.

This photographer isn't taking exposures long enough and has too much city light to see the satellites clearly. The "flashes" are likely glints off the solar panels or an aliasing artifact in his video conversion.  Longer exposures could cause streaking, but would bring the satellites out more clearly.
Geostationary Satellite Flashes, Night of March 7-8, 2013 from Ken Musgrave on Vimeo.

The folks at ExoAnalytic have some great professional videos through robotic telescopes.

Why not from other satellites?

I'm also often asked why we don't see satellites take pictures of other satellites.  To someone naive about otbits, this might seem like an easier task. You're closer, right? No. Space is very big, and satellites moving 17,000 mph, not all in the same direction!  Nevertheless, It's been done. An imaging satellite named PlĂ©iades 1A took a picture of SPOT 5

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