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Artificial Satellites
The Moon
The Difference Between

What the difference between orbiting satellites and geostationary satellites?

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October 13, 2009 9:09PM

Satellites orbit in various times depending on their altitude. Geostationary satellites are, in fact, orbiting satellites. But there is one primary difference between them and other orbiting satellites. If a satellite is at approximately 35,786 km (22,240 miles) over the equator, then it will take exactly 24 hours to orbit and appear to be stationary from the Earth. A satellite in this orbit is said to be geostationary. And this satellite will be ideal for use as a communication satellite because a satellite dish on Earth does not have to move to track the satellite across the sky. ---- Because a geostationary satellite is synchonized with the Earth's rotation in this manner, it does not orbit "around" the world as other satellites do.