What better way to spend a Thursday night and early Friday morning starting to hunt down images and information on approximately 100 new (well, some quite old, but new to this site) satellites? There are actually lots of better ways to spend such a time, but nevertheless that’s what I’ve just done. I thought that a sensible addition to a web app called “Find Satellites” would be some satellites that were known to be bright and therefore potentially visible to the naked eye. Very helpfully, the good people of NORAD and Celstrak provide a set of TLEs (Two Line Element records, which are essentially magic numbers used to determine a satellite’s position for any given moment in time) for around 100 of the brightest satellites in the sky.

These are all low-orbit, obviously. A few of them were already tracked, but the majority weren’t. New additions include Aeolus, Ajisai, Akari and a whole bunch more that I haven’t looked at yet. There are numerous Soviet / Russian Cosmos / Kosmos satellites coming through, many of which are mysterious, and some of which have been up since the early 80s.

There are a few new filters added to the drop-down. Line of sight bright is probably the most useful one for the purpose of actually seeing a satellite with your own eyes in the night sky.