How do I calculate the maximum northern and southern latitude a LEO satellite can image? What parameters would I need?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Angle of view for the camera. Orbit altitudes. Orbit Inclination. Trigonometry. $\endgroup$
    – A McKelvy
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 12:45
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    $\begingroup$ See if space.stackexchange.com/q/60109/37597 helps you. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan C
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ You'll also need orbital eccentricity, and if the orbit's not circular, you'll need argument of periapsis. $\endgroup$
    – notovny
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ Here are some equations dealing with the furthest visible point for a given altitude: celestialprogramming.com/horizondistance.html $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 4:18

1 Answer 1


For the most simple case:

  • Circular inclined orbit
  • Camera looking in all directions
  • Spherical Earth
  • Ignoring the atmosphere

Then you the highest latitude you can image is the sum of the inclination and an angle in a right triangle.

$$\phi = i + \cos^{-1}\left(\frac{r}{r + h}\right)$$

Where $h$ is the altitude of the satellite.

The flat view at the extreme latitude isn't very good.



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