mbc satellites

The Satellite Arc- where are the satellites.

September 25, 2008 · Filed Under Technical 

People often ask how do we know where to point a satellite dish. The TV satellites are located approx 22,000 miles above the equator spaced out in various orbital positions. A good site to discover what the orbital positions are is Lyngsat . Looking up from the earth however, the satellites appear as an arc in the sky. In the UK the satellites near the apex of the arc are at an elevation of approx 30 degrees, at the ends of the arc (around 70 degrees azimuth either way), the arc falls below the horizon. In North Kent for example Thor is approx 32 degrees elevation.
As a satellite installer based in Kent this is a good starting point to set up a motorised satellite dish.

Understanding the satellite arc is important, especially when thinking of a motorised satellite dish. Still very relevant however for any fixed dish setup.

In most of the UK including Kent, the satellites closest to your due south are the Thor 2 & 3 satellites at 0.8 degrees West, and are near the top of the arc and the highest in the sky. As you move east or west the elevation of the other satellites gradually drop down and approach the horizon as shown in the diagram. In the far west of the UK or Ireland you will find Atlantic Bird 3 at 5W will be nearer your due south.

The diagram below illustrates why the satellites at the extremes of the arc are difficult to get as they are so close to the horizon. In southern England (Kent), 0.8W will be around 32 degrees above the horizon, in Scotland about 25 degrees above, 68.5E for example will be around 5 degrees.

The satelite arc North Kent

The satelite arc North Kent

Satellite Installer Kent