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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Why are satellites not visible in the middle of the night?

Satellites are only visible when they are lit by the sun, but the observer on the ground is already in darkness. These conditions are met only when the sun is below the observer's horizon, but not so far down that the satellites themselves are in the earth's shadow. So satellites are normally only visible a few hours after sunset, or before sunrise. In the middle of the night the sun is simply too far below the horizon to light them. In summer however, especially at far northern or southern latitudes, even in the middle of the night the sun is never too far down, and satellites can be seen the whole night through.
 

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