Science: Those Ghost Satellites

Radio listeners, both professional and ham, sometimes hear signals that sound as if they came from a satellite. When they check, they find that no satellite was near them. Such signals need not originate in an unannounced Russian satellite or spaceship departing for Mars. According to Owen Garriott of Stanford University, they may come from a well-known satellite that is passing over an area on the other side of the earth, exactly opposite the listener's antenna.

The way it works, says Garriott, is that the satellite broadcasts its signal in all directions. Some of the waves pass around the earth, just as...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!