Site Loader

After watching this video, you will be able to explain what sun-synchronous and geostationary orbits are and why they are useful. A short quiz will follow.

What Is an Orbit?

An orbit is a curved path of a celestial object around another celestial object due to the force of gravity. Orbits are everywhere in our universe. The Moon orbits the Earth, and the Earth orbits the Sun, and the Sun orbits around the center of the galaxy.Put simply, an orbit happens because gravity is pulling the object towards the thing it’s orbiting, but the object is also moving sideways.

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
4,80
Writers Experience
4,80
Delivery
4,90
Support
4,70
Price
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
4,70
Writers Experience
4,70
Delivery
4,60
Support
4,60
Price
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
4,80
Writers Experience
4,50
Delivery
4,40
Support
4,10
Price
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

If that sideways motion is fast enough, it will stay at the same distance away despite gravity trying to pull it down.There are many ways that an object can orbit another. It can orbit at different heights, at a constant speed or a varying speed, and an orbit can be circular or elliptical.There are particular orbits that are most commonly used, because they serve useful functions.

The two most common ones are geosynchronous orbits and sun-synchronous orbits.

Geostationary Orbits

A geosynchronous orbit is an orbit around the Earth, where the object orbits once per day. A common kind of geosynchronous orbit is called a geostationary orbit, where the object orbits above the same part of the Earth at all times.This is an extremely useful type of orbit and is used for anything where a satellite needs to send or receive signals from the same part of the Earth all the time. It’s used for cell phone satellites, television satellites, weather satellites, as well as some military satellites.

Sun-Synchronous Orbits

A sun-synchronous orbit is an orbit around the Earth, where the movement of the satellite always looks the same when viewed from the Sun. A satellite in a sun-synchronous orbit still orbits the Earth, but does so in such a way that over the course of the day, its distance to the Sun will change in a consistent pattern no matter the time of year.

Here’s what a sun-synchronous orbit looks like at different times of year:

Sun-Synchronous Oribt
sun-synchronous orbit diagram

Notice that its position relative to the Sun varies across each orbit of the Earth, but the way that the orbit appears from the point of view of the Sun is the same no matter where the Earth is in its yearly orbit.This kind of orbit also has many applications. The big advantage of sun-synchronous orbits is that the Earth will be illuminated in a similar way year round. For this reason, it’s often used for weather and spy satellites, since they create images of the Earth.

They’re also used in ocean or atmospheric remote-sensing satellites, since they require sunlight to take their data.There are many types of orbits we haven’t mentioned, including polar orbits, polar sun-synchronous orbits, super-synchronous orbits, and others. But most satellites we have orbiting the Earth are either geosynchronous or sun-synchronous. They continue to be incredibly useful for a whole host of human activities.

Lesson Summary

An orbit is a curved path of a celestial object around another celestial object due to the force of gravity. Orbits are everywhere in the universe.

Put simply, an orbit happens because gravity is pulling the object towards the thing its orbiting, but the object is also moving sideways. If that sideways motion is fast enough, it will stay at the same distance away despite gravity trying to pull it down.There are many ways that an object can orbit another. It can orbit at different heights, at a constant or varying speed, and an orbit can be circular or elliptical. The two most common types of orbit are geosynchronous orbits and sun-synchronous orbits.A geosynchronous orbit is an orbit around the Earth, where the object orbits once per day. A common kind of geosynchronous orbit is called a geostationary orbit, where the object orbits above the same part of the Earth at all times.

It’s used for communications satellites, television satellites, weather satellites, as well as some uses for defense and intelligence.A sun-synchronous orbit is an orbit around the Earth, where the movement of the satellite always looks the same when viewed from the Sun. The big advantage of sun-synchronous orbits is that the Earth will be illuminated in a similar way year round. For this reason, it’s often used for weather and spy satellites, since they create images of the Earth.

Learning Outcomes

View the lesson and study the attached transcript so that you can:

  • Define orbit and understand its cause
  • Analyze geosynchronous and sun-synchronous orbits
  • Identify the importance of both types of orbits and discuss their applications

Post Author: admin

x

Hi!
I'm Eric!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out