How to Track Satellites
To track a satellite it is necessary to choose one. That is made by clicking directly on the satellite available on the "Great Visibility" column or after clicking on some of the categories. Once chosen, after a few seconds the program will begin the track the satellite.
Make sure that the computer clock is correct and the time zone is compatible with your Region. On the Internet there are dozens of programs that keep your computer always on time.
On the main screen we can see the World map, where the satellite in movement stands out by two outlined lines. These lines are called "GroundTrack". The red line shows the first 90 minutes of the current orbit and the blue line, the 90 following minutes. Each point represents the position of the satellite at each minute and gets the name of the sub-satellite Point.
On the blue screen, right the map, we have the parameters panel, updated every second, which is divided in three main areas, as shown below.
For a satellite can be observed directly, it is necessary that the sunshine reaches its structure and is reflected into our eyes. For that to take place, it is necessary that the following factors are present at the same time:
1 - Dark sky: it should be night on the observation location
2 - The Sun's height: the solar disk should be between 10 and 25 degrees below the line of the horizon
3 - Illuminated satellite: the sun rays should be reaching the satellite directly
4 - The elevation angle: the satellite should be at least 25 degrees above the horizon
When these four conditions are achieved, we say that the satellite will be potentially visible during its passage over our station. Meaning that technically, it can be seen, nevertheless other factors can influence its observation, among them the satellite's altitude and size, its coating material and the atmospheric conditions of the local observation.
As a general rule, the closer the satellite passes over our station, the better the observation will be. That closer approach is directly related to the height of the satellite above the horizon line. The angle formed between the satellite and this line is called the elevation angle and the bigger this angle is, the closer to us the satellite will be.
The apex of that approach takes place when the satellite is exactly over the zenith, in other words, 90 degrees above the horizon, but not all the passages effectively reach that position.
Orbital Elements: 07 Feb 2016 10:12 (2016 38.42540797)
1 20580U 90037B 16038.42540797 .00001704 00000-0 96362-4 0 9992
2 20580 28.4709 42.1085 0002656 240.0077 239.5257 15.08124532215356
Launch.: 1990 (37° from year, payload B)
Period: 95.5 min.
Incl.: 28.5 degrees
Apogee: 545 km
Perigee: 541 km
Semi-major axis: 6921 km