​​Satellite Spotting & Operations Handbook

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A newly launched Chinese spy satellite with its casing following beside.

Satellites 22,000 miles above the equator can be images using the right techniques and equipment

Taking photographs of satellites passing overhead is fairly straightforward providing the camera is compatible. Dark clear nights without the moon preferably are best. So take into account the moon's phase. The minimum requirements are;

Digital SLR (Single lens reflex)
Long exposure settings - 15, 20, 25 seconds etc
Manual focus option (or at least a pre-set Infinity focus setting)
High ISO settings (ISO 800 to 3200 are ideal) This is for sensitivity; the higher the number, the easier it is to record faint objects especially when they are moving
Sturdy tripod / Remote Shutter Release

I use a laser / star as reference to manually focus the camera

Satellite photography