I'm trying to calculate the ground track of an earth-orbiting satellite (Longitude, latitude) I found this handy way on the documentation but it's good when trying to find a single point what if I'm trying to find long, lati for several position points like : [(4570.656235, 5340.971335, 111.914064),
(4571.743399, 5339.872436, 119.374632),
(4574.972561, 5336.538171, 141.755478),]

is there any way to do so ??

from skyfield.api import load, wgs84, EarthSatellite

ts = load.timescale()
line1 = '1 25544U 98067A   22043.55847865  .00011256  00000-0  20676-3 0  9998'
line2 = '2 25544  51.6418 233.7857 0005922 124.4921 351.1177 15.49734813325856'
satellite = EarthSatellite(line1, line2, 'ISS (ZARYA)', ts)

t = ts.now()
geocentric = satellite.at(t)

lat, lon = wgs84.latlon_of(geocentric)
print('Latitude:', lat)
print('Longitude:', lon)
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Why don't you check out Skyfield's subpoint() method? If the version of Skyfield that you are using doesn't have it, it might be time to update. If you try it and it works, please feel free to answer your own question. If it doesn't help, then please clarify your question to explain more clearly exactly what you need to do. A screenshot of some numbers in an Excel table are not self-explanatory. Welcome to Stack Exchange! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 21:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ and if you happen to add an issue to GIthub you can also link to your question here. The package author @BrandonRhodes is active here as well. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ from the API documentation, I think it will do thanks for your help but it will be superior if you provided a code sample it will help @uhoh $\endgroup$
    – abdalla
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ i tried to use it but I realized that it was refactored to geographic_position_of() the problem is that I'm trying to use it but I can't realize what type of data it needs I tried to use tuple and lists but it raise AttributeError "AttributeError: 'list' object has no attribute 'center'" so I don't know what object type it use @uhoh $\endgroup$
    – abdalla
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


Possibly a bit late, but it seems like you're 99% of the way there. All you need is a loop of some kind to feed timescales into the satellite.at method.

But, if you want to get a little fancy, both satellite.at and wgs84.subpoint_of can accept collections of timescales generated by ts.linspace to, for example, plot the path of the ISS every two minutes over the next 200 minutes.

import pytz
from datetime import datetime
from dateutil.relativedelta import relativedelta
from skyfield.api import load, wgs84, EarthSatellite

ts = load.timescale()

# Updated version of the listed two-line elements

line1 = '1 25544U 98067A   22078.05453850  .00006165  00000+0  11806-3 0  9995'
line2 = '2 25544  51.6427  62.9786 0003909 284.2254 162.3984 15.49468773331209'
satellite = EarthSatellite(line1, line2, 'ISS (ZARYA)', ts)

# Get the current time in a timezone-aware fashion.

tz = pytz.timezone('UTC')
dt = tz.localize(datetime.utcnow())
print(f"Exectution time: {dt:%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S %Z}\n")

# Split the next 200 minutes into a collection of 101-evenly
# spaced Timescales (every two minutes, plus endpoints)

t0 = ts.utc(dt)
t1 = ts.utc(dt + relativedelta(minutes=200))
timescales = ts.linspace(t0, t1, 101)

# calculate the subpoints.

geocentrics = satellite.at(timescales)
subpoints = wgs84.subpoint_of(geocentrics)

# Print a nicely-formatted, tab-delimited time, latitude, and longitude.

for t, lat, lon in zip(timescales,
    print(f"{t.astimezone(tz):%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S}\t{lat:8.2f}\t{lon:8.2f}") 

The result will be something like this:

ISS (ZARYA) catalog #25544 epoch 2022-03-19 01:18:32 UTC
Exectution time: 2022-03-19 03:21:49 UTC

2022-03-19 03:21:49   -19.11       31.26
2022-03-19 03:23:49   -24.89       36.35
2022-03-19 03:25:49   -30.44       41.97
2022-03-19 03:27:49   -35.66       48.29

And seems like it produces a reasonable ground track when plotted on a map.

ISS Ground Track for 200 minutes following 2022-03-19 03:21: 49 UTC
Iss Ground path\for every two minutes after 2022-03-19 03:21: 49 UTC

This can be verified by entering the time 2022-03-19 03:21:49+0000 into the Historical ISS Tracker.

As requested by @abdalla, this is the python code using the basemap module to create the above image. I'm not too happy with the kludge I wound up using to get past basemap.plot's issues with boundary-crossing data on a cylindrical projection, but it worked in this particular instance.

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from mpl_toolkits.basemap import Basemap

coordinates = zip(subpoints.longitude.degrees, subpoints.latitude.degrees)

# kludge to split each crossing of the east edge of the map into its own set
# of track coordinates to route around basemap.plot rejecting the full
# coordinate set on a cylindrical projection. This code won't work for a
# westward ground track!

ground_tracks = []
prev_lon = 999
for lon, lat in coordinates:
    if lon < prev_lon:
    track_lons, track_lats = ground_tracks[-1]
    prev_lon = lon

# Create the ground track map
cyl_map = Basemap(projection='cyl', lon_0=0, lat_0=0, resolution='l')

# plot the individual ground tracks, then show the plot

for track in ground_tracks:
    cyl_map.plot(*track, color='black', latlon=False, marker='.')

  • $\begingroup$ can i ask for the way used to plot om the map $\endgroup$
    – abdalla
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ @abdalla In this case, I used basemap and matplotlib to throw together a quick map and plot the points across it. I can probably add the code I used for that tonight if I have time. $\endgroup$
    – notovny
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 19:03

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