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The Solar System

Artificial Satellites - Monitoring,
Information Gathering and the Polar Orbit.

Satellites which gather information use a polar orbit.
Unlike a geostationary orbit which is above the equator,
a polar orbit goes over the North and South Poles.

Polar Orbit

The polar orbit shown in the picture above is closer to the
Earth's surface than the geostationary orbit.
The satellite in the polar orbit travels much faster.
One complete orbit may take as little as 3 or 4 hrs.
By the time that the satellite has made one orbit
the Earth will have turned beneath it. The satellite
sees a new section of the Earth with each orbit.

This type of satellite is ideal for collecting information
for weather prediction or surveillance (spying) because
1.  It sees the whole surface each day.
2.  It is close enough to the Earth
to get detailed and reliable information.

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