Look Up: iPhone Satellite Predictions

Look Up (v1.0) is an iPhone (or iPod touch) web application that can tell you when to look out for satellites in the night sky. It covers pretty much anywhere in the world and predicts transits for the International Space Station, Hubble, Envisat, Genesis 1 and 2 and for a short while will predict appearances by the ailing US spy satellite USA-193, which has been in the news recently.


Not too long ago I put the data from my Over somewhere Twitter feeds into an iPhone edible format. Well that was a very restrictive way of doing things. This site is essentially an iPhone port of the Heaven’s Above website. I found HA hard to use on the iPhone and so this seemed a logical move. I am utilising Yahoo!’s geocode API as well as the EarthTools collection to grab details on timezones and lat/long data for inputted cities and countries.


Using the site should be fairly self-evident. You input your city and country (or city and US state) and then chose the satellite you’d like to try and spot. Hit ‘Search’ and there will be a pause while the script goes to do its magic. All being well, you should then see a list of upcoming transits with details of where and when to look.

Each transit is colour-coded by a traffic light system. Red dots signify that a pass is not worth looking for. Yellow dots are reasonable passes and green dots are excellent (either because they are bright or high in the sky).

For a short time, Heaven’s Above is featuring the ailing US spy satellite, USA-193. This means that Look Up can also tell you where and when to spot this object, which recently made the headlines.


Have a go! This should also work in Safari on any computer. I have not tested it in Firefox or IE. As always, feel free to leave comments here if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvements. I was thinking of incorporating weather predictions for the transits and the ability to search for any objects that may be easy to spot on a particular evening.

To add the app to your iPhone or iPod touch, just navigate to https://orbitingfrog.com/lookup.


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