Orbiting Earth

Jennifer Loomis, NASA, Exploring Earth

This Flash animation contrasts the geostationary versus polar orbits for satellites. For a geostationary orbit, the satellite remains directly above a fixed point at all times; in time with the Earth's rotation, the satellite circles the earth once every 24 hours, continually viewing the same part of Earth. For the polar orbit, the satellite circles over both poles in a constant plane while earth rotates beneath. Earth's rotation exposes different parts of the surface on each orbit. The animation is useful for a discussion on how remote sensing imagery and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) signals are derived. The animation can be paused and rewound to stress important points.

This resource is referenced here:
Subject: Geoscience:Atmospheric Science, Atmospheric Science:Climatology
Climate Literacy Principles: The Nature of Science:Observational DataKeywords: orbits, GPS, earth orbits