Stargazing Universe


The NORAD ID is an identifier assigned by the North American Aerospace Defense Command organisation (or, simply, NORAD) to all man-made objects in Earth orbit (including debris!). The NORAD ID is also called Satellite Catalog Number or USSPACECOM object number.

The NORAD identifier consists of 5 digits and is assigned in order of discovery – so, the first object to be catalogued was the Sputnik 1 launch vehicle, with NORAD ID 00001. The Sputnik 1 satellite itself was assigned NORAD 00002.

The NORAD catalogue keeps track of all such objects, with a size greater than 10 centimetres – it even catalogues debris resulted from such man-made objects! For example, in 2009, as a result of the Iridium-33’s collision with Kosmos-2251, more than a thousand pieces of debris of the two satellites got NORAD IDs!

When stargazing, certain sky objects that you see, could be man-made satellites! The International Space Station is often seen crossing the night sky, and if you want to track it, be sure to look for the object with NORAD ID 25544!

There’s also a yearly event – “NORAD Tracks Santa” – which tracks Santa Claus, who leaves from the North Pole, in order to distribute his presents to children across the World!

Stargazing Universe

SpaceX Starlink Satellites “Train”

Have you recently seen strange lights in the Night Sky? More exactly, a trail of small lights following each other in a straight line and crossing the sky from horizon to horizon?

Don’t worry, they’re not aliens 🙂 They’re the recently launched SpaceX satellites, known as the Starlink Group (NORAD 72000), which will be used in the future to provide a worldwide satellite Internet access!

If you have a clear sky the following few nights, just try and see if you can spot the “satellite train”! It’s an amazing and outworldly sight, and the best part is that you don’t need any equipment to see it! It is perfectly visible to the naked eye!

Tip: this site calculates the exact time when the Starlink group will be visible at your exact location!

Have you already seen it?

Nature Northern Lights Universe Vadsø

Experiencing the Northern Lights in Summer

The 2019-2020 Winter season is coming to an end, as the Midnight Sun progressively makes its presence felt at high Arctic latitudes. That means that sunlight starts to illuminate these regions round the clock and makes the sighting of the Northern Lights difficult or even impossible.

To see the Northern Lights, you need a completely dark sky. During the Polar Day – which is now starting – the Sun shines 24 hours a day, which makes viewing the Northern Lights impossible. However, the Northern Lights are still there – it’s just that you can’t see them!

…But you can hear them! If you do visit me in Vadsø during the summertime, when the Sun is up in the sky even at midnight, you can try hearing the Aurora with me! Check out my original summer activity: Hear the Aurora!

Just come and try, and see for yourself how cool it is to listen to the Northern Lights! And the bonus – there are many other sounds of our Universe which you will hear as well, and we’ll try explaining them together!