Does anybody know if there is a LIVE satellite? Like a cross between Google Earth (zoom) and GOES 16 (LIVE)? So WE can see what's really going on around here?

I want to see inside of the crater in Hawaii?


closed as unclear what you're asking by Marcus Müller, Nathan Tuggy, Dr Sheldon, Hohmannfan Oct 8 '18 at 20:09

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hi Elizabeth! Sadly, it's totally unclear what you meant with "LIVE" satellite? Can you elaborate? What is that satellite supposed to do? $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Oct 7 '18 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ @MarcusMüller I would like to see inside the crater in Hawaii? $\endgroup$ – Elizabeth Drake Oct 7 '18 at 20:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that low Earth orbiting imaging satellites don't linger over a given area. They might have a given point on the ground visible for 5 minutes or so, once every few days. Also, most satellites only capture still images, not video. To see live video inside the crater in Hawaii, your best bet would be a drone or a helicopter, not a satellite. $\endgroup$ – RickNZ Oct 7 '18 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ Please edit your question. Images or video? What level of detail do you want so see? $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen Oct 8 '18 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JanDoggen I think the requies for specificity is a little heavy. Why must it be images or video? What's wrong with both, or either? What is video if not a series of images? The OP does give an example of what "live" may be like, GOES-16. That looks like: rammb-slider.cira.colostate.edu/… I can't understand why the insta-close is necessary here. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 8 '18 at 13:05

That will be hard.

Satellites can't "stand still" over earth; they have to travel around to not fall from the sky. The speed they have to travel is physically linked to their height.

The lower they fly, they faster they have to go to not crash into earth.

The only way they can stay in a fixed position over earth is to travel in a very certain height, in what is called a "geostationary orbit", because then, they travel as fast as the earth itself spins, AND that orbit has to be straight above the equator!

So, unless your crater happens to be on the equator, you can't have a satellite standing fixed atop of it.

However, what you can do: Have a satellite, or a fleet of satellites, circling earth, and often "visiting" your crater.

And there are such fleets!

  • Military surveillance satellites: Actually take images and will probably transmit them through a network down to earth. You sure as hell won't get access to these images.
  • GPS and similar systems: don't take pictures
  • communication satellites: don't take pictures, either
  • Geoscience / radar satellite: Take pictures, but mostly for ground exploration, and things like digital elevation models. They have high economic value, and you can buy them, or you get access if your a scientist in one of the participating countries, working on earth exploration
  • Private intelligence satellites: This is a relatively new category. For now, for all practical means, these are an upcoming category and I'm not aware of anyone planning to sell live video streams. They'd probably get interesting visits from secret services.
  • Weather satellites: These do take pictures. And they stream them down to earth!

The probably best known system for these is NOAA. Things like these are possible (source):

satellite image

So, you need a special satellite (the standard is called HRPT) receiver close to the position you want pictures of. Luckily, building such a receiver isn't hard per se; probably, someone on Hawaii (or a couple thousand kilometers around that) has built one.

There are people who share their pictures; for example, someone called Arved on twitter

HRPT imagery

So, your task becomes

  • if you're living on Hawaii: build a receiver for HRPT images, and point it at the weather satellites as they pass by (and track them – as said, they move!)
  • if you live someone else, find someone who does the above for you and uploads the images.

@MarcusMüller' excellent answer does a great job of explaining the issues. There are examples of videos of a fixed spot on the Earth at high magnification, from a moving satellite in low Earth orbit, but these are unusual, and they are also only seconds long in length as the satellite passes quickly over a given spot. The image appears to be static by using image processing tricks.

As the other answer points out, the satellite does not (and can not) "hover" for an extended period of time, nor can you easily choose a spot and time in the near future and "make" the satellite move there to capture video.

From this question (and see the answers there to understand better what's happening):

The BBC News article UK satellite makes HD colour movies of Earth has led me to a series of YouTube videos as well recorded by the Carbonite-2 spacecraft built by Surrey Satellite Technology to be operated by Earth-i.

There also exists something called EarthNow LLC but so far no answer has been posted to How will EarthNow LLC obtain its real-time video of Earth?. It's a strange situation, and while the concept is attractive, the prospects are questionable.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.