A new Google Earth plugin lets you view all the orbiting satellites currently tracked by the US military. Doesn’t sound very exciting, right? It’s more interesting than you’d think – mainly because the sheer number is almost unbelievable. It’s like a Cylon armada. Clicking on them displays their use and status, and lots are inactive. You can track their orbits, too. If nothing appears, it’s geostationary1, but most have far more complex tracks than you’d think – particularly those further out. Astronomy Cast explaned the reasons behind the strange paths in ‘Getting around the solar system‘, although I’ve apparently forgotten most of it already (I hate that).
- apart from the Ryman satellite, which is geostationery [↩]