Spaceborne shimmer detector can get satellite cloud image from visible to near-infrared wave band and the earth's surface character data in low-light condition, and it is the most effective instrument for detecting the low clouds and heavy fog during nighttime and twilight. This paper introduces the principle of spaceborne shimmer detection. Then, it reviews the recent development of spaceborne shimmer detector in home and abroad, and describes its satellite system, instruments' technical target, key imaging technology and data character. Finally, it discusses some applications of spaceborne shimmer technology in city light and wildfire detection, cloud and fog detection, dust and smoke detection and so on. Spaceborne shimmer technology can provide a platform for Chinese meteorologic satellite development, and could increase and broaden the method of weather observation.