Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Shooting Satellite?

Jim Faketselis of Huntington, NJ took this short 18 minute movie of the famed Orion Nebula, only to find what looked like a shooting star. But actually, it is the star field that is rotating about as the earth spins, made still by the motor drive the the telescope. What looks like a shooting star here is actually a geosynchronous satellite. These satellites are launched into a very specific orbit that circulates around the earth at the same angular rate that the earth spins to hover stationary with respect to a single point on the ground.

Here is another image of the Orion Nebula moving past four geosynchronous satellites but with the motor drive disengaged.

Original images courtesy of

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess the morale is better keep your engine on. Phil