Where over the world is Hubble?

Contributed by
May 17, 2006

'I still think it's funny that most people are totally unaware that you can see satellites quite easily with your unaided eye. I shouldn't think it's funny, since the majority of people in my country don't look up very much, and if they do they are looking into light-polluted skies, which makes everything but the brightest celestial objects fade into obscurity.

But satellites are actually pretty easy to see, sometimes rivalling Jupiter and Venus for brightness. And with the advent of such websites as Heavens Above, you can get times of satellite passes and maps of the sky which tell you where to look.

Now, a new site has come along which ups the coolness factor. The Real Time Satellite Tracking site shows you where

in over the world a satellite is, in real time. It uses Google maps to display the region of the world, and it's like you travel with the satellite as the world goes by underneath you. The default page is for the space station, but you can track such orbiting machines as Hubble and Swift. They have a long list of available satellites, too, so you can usually find your favorite. Some are missing, like Chandra and WMAP, but those have weird orbits that aren't low-Earth, so I'm not surprised they're off the list.

The site is a lot of fun. I like setting the map on "hybrid", zooming way in on a satellite, and watching it fly over the landscape. It really gives you an impression of how fast these suckers move when they're in orbit. Enjoy!

Tip o' the meteor shield to Larry Klaes for -- literally -- the heads up on this.'

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