The Best Apps to Track Satellites

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Tracking satellites has never been easier with the plethora of mobile apps available today. Whether you’re an astronomy enthusiast or simply fascinated by the idea of observing man-made objects orbiting the Earth, these apps provide a gateway to the cosmos. 

From real-time satellite tracking to pass predictions and flyby timers, the best apps offer a range of features to enhance your viewing experience. 

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For Android users, popular choices include Stellarium, Heavens Above, SkyView, and Satellite Tracker by Star Walk. On the other hand, iOS users can opt for Satellite Tracker by Star Walk, which allows you to observe the International Space Station and other satellites in the sky, providing alerts about the nearest flybys and the timer for the next appearance. 

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned satellite observer, these apps are designed to bring the wonders of the night sky right to your fingertips.

How to do Satellite Tracking Apps Work

Apps to track satellites work by utilizing the global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network, which consists of a group of satellites in orbit that send microwave signals to a receiver. The receiver then uses these signals to calculate the precise location of the user from at least four of the GPS satellites.

Satellite tracking apps like Satellite Tracker by Star Walk, Stellarium, and Heavens Above use this technology to provide real-time satellite tracking, pass predictions, and flyby timers.

These apps to track satellites allow users to observe the International Space Station and other man-made satellites crossing the sky above them, providing alerts about the nearest flybys and the timer for the next appearance.

Some apps like SkyView use the device’s camera and GPS to show the location of objects in the sky, including satellites and allow users to set up alerts for when specific satellites are passing overhead.

Overall, satellite tracking apps are designed to bring the wonders of the night sky right to the user’s fingertips.

How Accurate Are Satellite Tracking Apps

The accuracy of apps to track satellites can vary based on the technology and data sources they utilize. These apps typically rely on the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) network, such as GPS, to determine the user’s location and the position of the satellites. 

The accuracy of GPS tracking devices, which are often used in conjunction with satellite tracking apps, can be up to 1 meter under optimal conditions

However, the accuracy of satellite tracking apps themselves may be influenced by factors such as the quality of the device’s GPS receiver, the availability of a clear line of sight to the satellites, and the precision of the app’s underlying data sources. Users often provide feedback on the accuracy of specific satellite tracking apps based on their real-world experiences.

Therefore, while satellite tracking apps can provide valuable information about the position of satellites, the overall accuracy may vary in practice.

Top 5 Apps to Track Satellites

Satellite Tracker by Star Walk 

Find and track satellites in the sky anytime and anywhere with this satellite app. It offers real-time satellite tracking, pass predictions and flyby timers.

Pros:

  • Real-time satellite tracking.
  • Pass predictions and flyby timers.
  • Starlink satellite tracker.
  • Hand-picked passes.

Cons:

  • Some users have reported occasional inaccuracies in satellite locations.
Rating:
4.3/5
Downloads:
1M+
Size:
102.5M
Platform:
Android & iOS
Price:
$0

Stellarium 

A popular Android app that provides a comprehensive astronomy experience, including satellite tracking and real-time information on celestial objects.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive astronomy experience.
  • Satellite tracking and real-time information on celestial objects.

Cons:

  • May have a steeper learning curve for beginners.
Rating:
4.7/5
Downloads:
10M+
Size:
85M
Platform:
Android & iOS
Price:
$0

Heavens Above 

A user-friendly Android app that offers satellite tracking, real-time satellite information, and alerts for nearby satellites.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Satellite tracking and real-time information on celestial objects.
  • Alerts for nearby satellites.

Cons:

  • Some users have reported occasional inaccuracies in satellite locations.
Rating:
4.2/5
Downloads:
1M+
Size:
6.5M
Platform:
Android
Price:
$0

SkyView 

A popular mobile app for both iOS and Android that helps users identify and track satellites using their device’s camera and GPS. It offers alerts for when specific satellites are passing overhead.

Pros:

  • Popular among users for its ease of use and accuracy.
  • Uses the device’s camera and GPS for accurate satellite tracking.
  • Alerts for when specific satellites are passing overhead.

Cons:

  • It’s a paid app
Rating:
4.5/5
Downloads:
100K+
Size:
52.37M
Platform:
Android & iOS
Price:
$2

Orbitrack 

A satellite tracking app that provides real-time information on satellites, including their orbit, altitude, and velocity.

Pros:

  • Real-time satellite information.
  • Orbit, altitude, and velocity data for satellites.

Cons:

  • It’s a paid app.

Please note that the accuracy of these apps may vary based on factors such as the quality of the device’s GPS receiver, the availability of a clear line of sight to the satellites, and the precision of the app’s underlying data sources.

Rating:
4/5
Downloads:
50K+
Size:
104.82M
Platform:
Android & iOS
Price:
$0

The Best Apps to Track Satellites

In conclusion, apps to track satellites offer a fascinating way for enthusiasts to observe and interact with the world’s fleet of orbiting satellites. These apps provide real-time tracking, pass predictions, and flyby timers, allowing users to witness the incredible feats of engineering and science that take place in space. 

However, it’s essential to remember that the accuracy of these apps may vary based on factors such as the quality of the device’s GPS receiver, the availability of a clear line of sight to the satellites, and the precision of the app’s underlying data sources. 

As technology continues to advance, these apps are likely to improve, offering even more accurate and immersive experiences for satellite enthusiasts. 

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