Earth's Geostationary Satellite Belt

July 07, 2017

Geostationary Satellite Belt

Photographer: Adam Block
Summary Author: Adam Block

Earth has something of a ring system, a human-made one. Geostationary satellites are carefully placed in orbits that are fairly narrowly defined along the Earth's sky-projected equator. They're positioned some 22,200 mi (35,727 km) above the equator. This 10-frame mosaic image shows a 35-degree swath of the sky. Over 40 satellites are shown here -- labeled in orange. Click on photo to see a larger view, but note that because of the resolution of this image the individual names are difficult to read. Jupiter is the bright object at upper right.

Simply take a picture of the night sky looking toward the celestial equator to find these geostationary satellites. No tracking is needed because their revolutionary periods around the Earth match the Earth's rotational period -- so the stars will trail them. Photos captured on May 2, 2017, from Tucson, Arizona.