See all the satellites!

May 17, 2022 • 1:30 pm

I didn’t realize how much trash is orbiting the earth until I saw this interactive satellite site.

From Barry via BoingBoing, which says only this about the site:

 “This low earth orbit visualization tool allows users to see satellites all over the world. You can click on a satellite to see details about it, or you can perform a search using specific filters. During my time playing with the site, I saw 19,165 satellites. Zoom in and out to see the orbit from any perspective.”

First, the credits they give:

Then click on the screenshot, which shows what’s up there above us, to play with the site

Here’s what I found you can do in just a short look:

  • Click on any satellite and see what it is and who put it up
  • Move the Earth around to see what’s where
  • Distinguish between debris (there’s a lot of it!), rocket bodies, satellites, beams (whatever they are;they seem to come from the U.S. and New Zealand), and other stuff
  • Search for satellites by name
  • Filter satellites by perigee, country of orgin, object type, and so on.

You may tire of this quickly, as I did, but it’s still astounding that there’s so much crap orbiting the Earth. It’s a wonder these things don’t run into each other! (Yes, I know that space is big and the elevations differ.)


11 thoughts on “See all the satellites!

  1. To modify from A Space Odessey: My god! It’s full of crap!
    I tried to search for the ISS but it did not turn up anything. But a search for STARLINK gave very impressive results.

  2. It looks bad because this isn’t close to scale. If it were to scale there would appear to be nothing there. Each dot is probably the size of a county. If you did this with cars or people in an empty area like a desert, it would still appear crowded.

        1. Welcome to the wild, wild, space! Unregulated areas = exploitation = fast and easy gold. Oh, humans…sigh. At the same time, I sure don’t want to give up my satellite life-bonuses. Another sigh.

    1. Each dot is probably the size of a county.

      You can see the countries underneath – most are much bigger than the dots.

      If you did this with cars or people in an empty area like a desert, it would still appear crowded.

      Humans and cars don’t move at 30,000 kmh.

      1. I said “county” not “country”.

        What no one has mentioned is at the altitude that starlink satellites travel, things can only stay in orbit for about 2-5 years before entering the atmosphere.

        Low Earth Orbit is self cleaning unless something is keep altitude. This is why the ISS constantly has to adjust its altitude.

  3. Great link and thanks for posting.

    I do feel the amount of “stuff”, of human origin, in orbit gets over exaggerated though and this visualisation is certainly dramatic.

    For example, Wikipedia says there are a total of around 6k satellites in orbit (half defunct) whilst there are 2m cars in London.

    I appreciate satellites make up only a proportion of the man made objects in space.

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