Wednesday, September 23, 2020

[yqtrbufb] Photographing satellites

How difficult is it to photograph a satellite from the ground at high enough resolution to make out its shape?

One would need a telescope on a mount which can track an object rapidly moving across the sky.  How powerful a telescope is needed?

I think satellite orbits are published, but if not, it doesn't seem too difficult to determine them from observations.  It probably has to be a worldwide collaborative effort.

Of particular interest might be spy satellites which are shrouded in secrecy while on the ground, but once in the sky, they become visible to all as a necessary consequence of them being able to see all.  If one can make out their shape, one can determine their orientation and get some indication at what they were last (or are currently) looking at.  We watch the watchers.

The natural objects in the heavens tend to be unchanging and boring, but not so for man-made.

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