two bright lights in south-east sky

by Suzee Wills
(Calimesa, California, USA)

One of these, perhaps

One of these, perhaps

On the night of August 19, 2011 @ 9:45 pm we saw two bright lights, one above the other in the south-east sky. The lower one dimmed & was gone withen a few minutes. the top one was brighter & lasted another minute or so.

Could we have seen weather satellites? We also saw the same thing the 3rd or 4th week in May. Can you tell us when we can see them again please? We live in Calimesa, California.

Barry's Response - There's something organized and consistent about anything, including weather satellites. What ones? I don't know; there are thousands to choose from.

Can we tell what's possible?

Weather, earth and environmental monitoring satellites
Satellites for war and military intelligence
Research satellites in astronomy
Telecommunications satellites
GPS satellites
Space stations for human accommodation
Nanosatellites (really small ones)

According to the latest estimate, there are almost 2500 satellites in geocentric orbit (around the earth, a few others circling the sun and mars). Altitudes range from hundreds to over 20,000 miles. Some go around the poles; some stay above the equator; some go around the poles and always keep the sun straight overhead. Some trace a circle and stay at the same altitude; others trace an ellipse.

When we're done with them, what do we do? Some of them get de-orbited (How do we get them down?) but it's expensive. Some get abandoned in place (the least responsible option). Graveyard orbits are sometimes designated for them.

The regulatory environment is still in its nascent phases - see

search this site for more information now. For now, a bit more...

About satellites and their regulations, tracking, and the total number near different celestial bodies such as the Earth, Moon, Sun, Mars, and others.

What is a satellite? Satellites orbit planets, moons, and stars in space. Satellites are like our little helpers in space, and they make our lives easier and expand our knowledge about the universe! They help us with things like communication, weather monitoring, and space exploration.

Countries around the world have satellite regulations to make sure satellites in space don't interfere with each other. It's important to plan where to put the satellites so they don't crash into each other or create space debris. Their positions and movements are monitored to make sure they're safe.

We have thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth. Some are big, like communication satellites, and some are tiny, like CubeSats. All of them serve different purposes and help us in different ways.

Satellites orbit the Moon too! We can study the Moon from afar and learn more about its surface and atmosphere.

Satellites near the Sun detect solar storms, solar flares, and how the Sun affects our planet are explained by them. Scientists on Earth get amazing pictures and data from Mars.

Other places for satellites: We've sent satellites to Jupiter and Saturn, as well as other planets. We can explore and understand the universe with these missions.

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Thank you to my research and writing assistants, ChatGPT and WordTune, as well as Wombo and others for the images.

GPT-4, OpenAI's large-scale language generation model (and others provided by Google and Meta), helped generate this text.  As soon as draft language is generated, the author reviews, edits, and revises it to their own liking and is responsible for the content.