Experienced viewers are well conversant with seeing satellites in the low Earth orbit as they lit up the sky towards the night. Sometimes, one can observe a flare from the passing satellite which appears to be the reflective solar panel that catches sun rays. However, when you look closely on either adjacent part of celestial equator during some periods of the year, you might see a flare of a far-off GEOSat (Geosynchronous satellite as it shines and becomes more visible, and then it fades away.
The most appropriate time to look at satellites in GEO is around the equinox in March or September because their level of brightness reaches 100%. During these periods, satellites as positioned directly opposite to the sun and hence the catchy brightness. The ‘GEOSat flare & eclipse period’ is a biannual phenomenon that happens neither on the equinox nor on the solstice.
Geosynchronous orbit is the crucial point that is located 35,786 kilometers from the Earth’s surface. Here, when you place a satellite, it will orbit the Earth once after a day and stays in a stationary position on a specific longitude on Earth’s surface. When the satellite is placed on a zero degrees inclination angle, we say it is geostationary.
In 1963, Syncom was the first satellite to have a successful placement in the GEO. By the last year, over 554 satellites have been deployed in the GEO. The majority of these satellites are for the weather of communications purposes, and the most significant part of them are emissary satellites. Some satellites are later positioned out in super-synchronous ‘graveyard orbits’ out and beyond the GEO upon completing their estimated work life. However, mostly you find out that the thrusters ae still functioning and still have fuel.
The reality is that we know little about the number of satellites present in the High Earth Orbit (HEO). To quench the uncertainty, the University of Warwick used the DebrisWatch I project to examine a statistical census of far-off artificial objects. According to the suggestions, we only see 25 percent of what is present in the space. In 2017, a debris collision with Telkom-1 resulted in the dysfunction of the satellite.
Flares, Flashers, and Tumblers
Not everything that shines into visibility is indeed in the GEO. In Low Earth Orbit, the first group of Iridium satellites was a show during the first twenty years of the 21st century. However, the next group of those satellites was not that bright. The difference here is that GEO satellites appear to be in a stationary position.