Line of Sight: Track the Real Time Locations of Satellites

Elizabeth Borneman


Humans have had the ability to send objects into space since the beginnings of the 20th century. The first satellite was launched in 1957, the famous Russian Sputnik I was followed by the launching of satellites of American and global origin.

Today there are over 2,250 satellites surrounding the Earth, orbiting this incredible planet in silent consistency.

Satellites literally surround us. Not only are they up in the sky above us, but their influence allows us to conduct our lives as usual. Satellites beam our wireless networks, allow us to communicate, and transmit important information from one place to another. We rely on information from satellites to get our phone signal, to send a picture, and to gain information about the world around us.

Despite all this, satellites don’t always have a big visual impact on how we live our lives; they are abstract, in space, silent and often invisible entities. Now, however, we have the ability to see satellites from the comfort of our own homes.

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Line of Sight is an online map application that tracks where each and every satellite is above the Earth in real time. The map was created by Patricio Gonzalez who is part of the open-source mapping startup company Mapzen. Patricio Gonzalez is a resident artist and engineer at the project who wanted to bring satellites and their existence a little closer to home.


With the Line of Sight map users can track satellites that fly above their homes and cities with just the click of a button. Gonzalez used data on satellites from various tracking companies to set up his map, which can tell you where and when satellites will pass over certain places. Satellites can move at approximately 17,000 miles an hour, but they can still be seen orbiting in space with the naked eye on a clear night.

Line of Sight tracks active and dead satellites as well as sizeable bits of space junk that continue to orbit consistently around the Earth. Parts of rockets can be seen, as can other pieces of space debris caught in the Earth’s gravitational pull. If you are curious about satellites and other objects orbiting around the Earth, Line of Sight provides more information about what you can see in the night sky above you. Check it out if you have the chance and be amazed at what is just above us in the sky.

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About the author
Elizabeth Borneman
My name is Elizabeth Borneman and I am a freelance writer, reader, and coffee drinker. I live on a small island in Alaska, which gives me plenty of time to fish, hike, kayak, and be inspired by nature. I enjoy writing about the natural world and find lots of ways to flex my creative muscles on the beach, in the forest, or down at the local coffee shop.