Knowing if something is on or off can be extremely useful, but often you will want to know more. How bright is the light? How fast is the satellite moving? These types of answers are often analog – they cover a large range of values, not just on or off.
The Arduino handles analogs inputs with 6 dedicated pins, labeled A0 through A5. These pins have access to an analog-to-digital converter, which takes the range of input values and creates a digital version by cutting up the range into tiny pieces. All this is handled behind the scenes – all you have to do is use some very simple functions and you will get what you need.