realtime satellite orbit data?
August 3, 2008 11:24 PM   Subscribe

I vaguely recall seeing some kind of online/download that tracked in near realtime all of the satellites orbiting earth, allowing the user to pan around. Am I insane, or does that exist?
posted by sharksandwich to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Acacia at 11:34 PM on August 3, 2008

it's been a while since I ran such software, but here are some (maybe-helpful) links: - Satellite Related Software - Tracking Programs and TLE Resources -- includes some web-based tracking tools, such as "J-Track 3D", from NASA. - "The Space-Track.Org website provides access to satellite orbital data received from Department of Defense (DoD). This is the same data, with
the same latency that has been provided by the NASA Orbital Information
Group (OIG) website for many years." -- this is probably where you would get your data from to feed to one of the tracking programs referenced in the above pages.

I'm not sure how difficult it is to get access to these days.

I'm interested to see what more recent tools/resources turn up in other answers.
posted by ffej at 11:37 PM on August 3, 2008

Or NASA's J-track (built off of the orbital elements sets that NORAD used to publish, I think).
posted by hattifattener at 11:38 PM on August 3, 2008

I remember years ago using Starry Night for such uses, but I haven't looked into it since then.
posted by meowN at 11:55 PM on August 3, 2008

Perhaps Celestia is what you're looking for. It allows you to move through 3D space as opposed to viewing space from a fixed point on earth. From the link:

"Celestia is a 3-D astronomy program created by Chris Laurel. The program is based on the Hipparcos Catalogue (HIP) and allows users to travel through an extensive universe, modeled after reality at any speed, in any direction and at any time in history. Celestia displays and interacts with objects ranging in scale from artificial satellites to entire galaxies in three dimensions ..."
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 11:58 PM on August 3, 2008

I second Celestia. It's a really neat tool to mess around with, and I remember doing exactly what you're talking about; that is, looking up satellites and seeing where they were at any point in time.
posted by InsanePenguin at 5:42 AM on August 4, 2008

Do you mean manmade satellites? It doesn't allow panning, but I use GPredict (which apparently runs on Windows and OS X in addition to Linux) for tracking some ham radio satellites; you can set it up to track a lot of stuff.
posted by fogster at 9:41 AM on August 4, 2008

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