Tracking those pesky spy satellites - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Tracking those pesky spy satellites

Next time you look up at the night sky, you may be looking at more than stars and planets. 

There is a man who has made it his mission to show people what is looking back down at them.
 
Kodak moments from the heavens above. 

After years of spy satellites zooming in, looking down on us, in matters of uh, natural security.
 
That someone is artist geographer Trevor Paglen who is opening our eyes to the other night sky, those tiny streaks of light are military spy satellites.
 
Amateur astronomers know, they've been tracking satellites for decades.

Paglen used their data to predict when these celestial objects would be overhead. 

Using a customized computer controlled telescope and camera he clicked away.

"It would be like standing on top of the Transamerica building in downtown San Francisco and trying to photograph a school bus in Los Angeles that's driving at about 3000 miles an hour," said Paglen.

He captured on film 189 reconnaissance objects and is now exhibiting a handful of them at the Berkeley art museum, making the invisible, visible to the world.

"What I want the art to do is one of the oldest tricks in the book.  It's to take something that's familiar and show that it's in fact very strange.  And I think that when you look up at the night sky, it might be a familiar sight, but in fact there's quite a bit going on there that maybe we're not always aware of," Paglen said.

To drill home that point, Paglen helped develop software that tracks and displays in real time the positions of those 186 recon satellites.

"I think this is something that people should think about.  Something that gives me pause," Paglen said.

Next time you're under the night sky look up and make sure you smile.

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