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Technology 358 views Nov 05, 2019
Geosynchronous satellites: Everything you need to know

Have you ever wondered how many satellites are there? Well, there are about 13. All of these objects circle around the Earth or another planet. We build satellites for many reasons: collect energy from the sun, send television signals, conduct research, and so on and so forth. When it comes down to observing the Earth, scientists prefer to use geosynchronous orbits. This is because these satellites can see different spots of the planet at the same time. Most telecommunication satellites use a geostationary orbit. They look as if they are fixed in the sky, which is largely due to synchronization. If you’re eager to find out more about geosynchronous satellites, please continue reading. 

Understanding what a geosynchronous satellite is 

If it’s not clear until this point, a geosynchronous satellite is one that remains in geosynchronous orbit around the planet for a period that matches the Earth’s rotation period. To regular observers, it seems that the orbit isn’t moving at all. Only one satellite is needed to cover 40 percent of the planet’s surface. It’s accessed with the help of a directional antenna, which is aimed at the point in the sky where the device appears to linger on. 

The very first geosynchronous satellite to be launched was called Syncom 2. This communications satellite was launched by NASA in 1963. This orbit literally changed the world. It was necessary to overcome technical and political hurdles to send the satellite into orbit. Syncom 2 determined an innovation in communication. To be more precise, people could make international telephone connections. Thanks to the existing system, a few calls could be made. 

The angular velocity of a geosynchronous satellite is the angle revolved per unit time. It’s quite difficult to find the speed of a satellite that is placed at geostationary orbit. You don’t need to use a calculator to know that it has an angular velocity of ω = 360 / 24 = 15 degrees per hour or 2π / 24 ≈ 0.26 radians per hour. An angular speed calculator will come in handy when you have to calculate the angular velocity of a hand clock that takes about 30 seconds to move through an arc of 180 degrees or of a polishing wheel that moves at 150 revolutions. 

Some advantages of using geosynchronous satellites

Geosynchronous satellites are useful for numerous applications. In what follows, we’re not going to discuss the physics of satellite orbits but insist on the advantages of putting objects into geosynchronous orbits. 

Obtaining high-temporal data

Temporal data is gaining in importance. It represents a collection of observations associated with info like the time at which the data has been collected, not to mention the time interval during which the information is valid. New initiatives in business and health care have contributed to the increased importance of temporal data. To put it simply, temporal data takes into account time-varying quantities over time on a population. A geosynchronous can capture high-temporal data. the only disadvantage of this device is that it’s limited to a parcel of ground. 

Constant view of the same area for weather monitoring 

Weather monitoring allows us to identify changes in the climate and predict future changes in the environment. Not many know that meteorology was one of the first disciplines to take advantage of space capabilities. Even today, satellites offer precise observations of the state of the atmosphere. Meteorologists use the information given for weather forecasts, analyses, and warnings. A geosynchronous satellite revolves around a fix point every day, so it provides a constant view of the same area. It offers information in real time, which allows experts to keep track of large weather systems such as fronts, hurricanes, and storms. 

Communications for civilians 

Communication plays an important role in society, facilitating the sharing of information and knowledge. If it weren’t for satellites, there would be no communication. What these devices do is to send signals to the antennas on Earth. when you look carefully at the sky, you don’t see the meticulously engineered satellites that span through the orbits. At present, there are approximately 2000 satellites orbiting the Earth, transmitting data to locations from all over the world. Owing to the fact that the geosynchronous satellite stays in one spot, communications from that particular location are reliable if the orbit is well-connected to the location. 

In case you want to see or photograph a geosynchronous satellite 

Geosynchronous satellites aren’t visible to the naked eye. This is because they are at a high altitude and the atmospheric diffraction doesn’t help either. If you’re a lucky person, you could catch a glimpse of the instrument hovering over the Earth. If you really want to see or photograph one, think about using an astronomical calculator. A website of this kind should have a calendar that provides geo stats based on your location. 

There’s no reason to be worried because the geosynchronous satellites are visible all night. They don’t disappear right away. Satellite watching can’t be done with the naked eye. In other words, you should invest in a good telescope. It allows you to see objects that are far, far away. However, attention needs to be paid to the fact that not all satellites are visible using Earth-based scopes unless they are really big. The atmosphere makes the details a little bit fuzzy. The good news is that we’re close to the time of the year when the GEO stats are visible to the naked eye. 

Is there any difference between a geosynchronous and geostationary orbit? 

It’s tempting to think that they are the same, but there’s a huge difference between the two types of orbits. Geostationary orbits fall into the same category as geosynchronous orbits, the only difference being that they lie on the same plane as the equator. This is the modern era, so satellites will continue to play an important role in terms of fundamental challenges. Both orbits have a period of one day, which is the equivalent of 23 hours and 56 minutes.