After sunset and before sunrise, you may see stars that appear to move slowly across the sky. You can tell they aren’t airplanes (no blinking lights), and they aren’t meteors (too slow). What could they be? They are probably satellites. We have put many satellites and spent rocket bodies in orbit around the Earth, and many can be seen each night.
So, is there a way to know what they are (to be sure they are not space aliens…)? Yes! The website we use at the observatory is heavens-above.com. If you tell it a precise latitude and longitude, it will create a list of satellites that you should be able to see for any date. The International Space Station is really quite bright.
To see the wonders of the universe, and even satellites, come to the Insperity Observatory for public night, the first Friday each month from sunset to 10 p.m.: humbleisd.net/observatory.
By Dr. Aaron B. Clevenson
Observatory Director, Insperity Observatory
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