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The checklist to see EQUiSat

  1. Download an app to show you where to look for EQUiSat in the sky. We recommend the ISS Detector app for Android and iOS or Orbitrack for iOS. This site by James Darpinian is also an excellent resource for determining where to look (check out the “See where it will appear in your sky” feature!)
  2. Check whether EQUiSat is currently in “IDLE FLASH” mode or its LiFePO4 batteries are close to full (see below) using our website or our Twitter bot.
  3. Figure out the next time when EQUiSat will pass over you in the dark, using either:
    1. The app you downloaded (see below)
    2. The EQUiSat app (iOS, Android)
    3. Our website equisat.brownspace.org
    4. Sites like HeavensAbove
    5. Text notifications, which you can subscribe to using our app!
  4. Choose the pass with the highest “max elevation” or “max altitude” you can find that’s still in the dark; these are the ones where the satellite is highest in the sky (and closest to you) so you’ll be most likely to see it. Keep in mind that some passes may be blocked by buildings, etc. near you.
  5. Learn how to use your app to see where EQUiSat is in the sky (see below for information). You won’t want to be learning during the pass!
  6. See the animation below to know what kind of flash you’re looking for!
  7. (Optional) read up on tips here or here for improving and managing your night vision before going outside. The earlier you start adjusting your eyes the better you’ll be able to see! There are also tips for how to look for something bright in the dark.
  8. Several minutes before the pass starts, head outside to a dark place with a clear view of the sky (the top of a building or hill is great), turn down your phone’s brightness, turn on the “night mode” in your app if it has one, and get rid of as much light as you can, to help your eyes adjust.
  9. As the satellite passes over you, spend most of your time staring about 10-20 degrees to the side of the point in the sky where the satellite should be, taking very quick glances at your phone to figure out where that is. The reason you shouldn’t look directly at the satellite is that the “cone” cells in the middle of your eye are less effective in the dark, while the “rod” cells on the fringes are better. Try to stare at a star and you should experience this (see here for more).
  10. If you see a flash, start counting down to 60 to know when you’ll see the next one! (they happen every minute)
  11. Submit a report of your sighting (even if you weren’t sure you saw it) to our form!

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A "state diagram" of EQUiSat's operation modes. The arrows indicate the criteria for the satellite to move between modes, i.e. start flashing
The timing of EQUiSat's flash burst. The bursts occur every minute when the satellite is in IDLE FLASH mode.

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A star chart showing EQUiSat moving across the sky over Rome, Italy. The times during different points of the pass are also shown

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The "radar scope" with your phone held horizontally
The star chart with your (Android) phone held vertically

How EQUiSat was designed to point down (for the curious)

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A diagram of how EQUiSat is oriented in space
Angle of the earth's magentic field around the world, indicating where EQUiSat would've pointed down