Originally Posted by tubemonkey
How do you track them?
There are databases which are maintained by various groups and agencies. These databases are updated very frequently. The databases contain the Keplerian elements
data for various satellites. Keplerian elements are the inputs to a standard mathematical model of spacecraft orbits. As long as the data is current, an app can accurately track the orbits of a satellite. I use apps (listed below) which allow me to enter my location and then they display when specified satellites will be visible at my location, how bright they will appear in the sky, and some even show me where to look in the sky at any moment during the orbital pass to see the satellite. Pretty cool stuff.
- GoSatWatch (this is my favorite)
- Satellite Flybys (very simple but good for long range planning)
- Satellite Watcher (really more for iPad with big screen, so so)
There are many more which I haven't tried yet.
I also use the PC apps Orbitron (freeware) and Starry Night (paid). With Starry Night I can simulate what the track will be and overlay the simulated night sky view with various camera lens FOVs (field of views). In this manner I can pre-plan which lens I want to use, where to point it in the night sky, and when to set the camera to start taking a series of photos or video. I use the iOS apps on my iPt4 in the field.