Geosynchronous Orbits

Many TV, weather, and GPS satellites are in geosynchronous orbits at an altitude of 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above the Earth. There is a difference between geosynchronous and geostationary orbits.

So just what is a geostationary orbit? In general terms, it is a special orbit for which any satellite in that orbit will appear to hover stationary over a point on the earth's surface. Unlike all other classes of orbits, however, where there can be a family of orbits, there is only one geostationary orbit. In general, satellites in geosynchronous orbits will appear to move north and south of the equator from a fixed point on the Earth.

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