Saturday, 25 May 2019

WOWOWOW!!!! A SPECTACULAR view of the SpaceX Starlink satellite train!


On 24 May 2019 at 2:30 UT, SpaceX launched STARLINK, a series of 60 satellites that is the first launch of many that will create a large constellation of satellites meant to provide global internet access.

Just short of a day after the launch, near 22:55 UT on May 24, this resulted in a spectacular view over NW Europe, when a "train" of bright satellites, all moving close together in a line, moved across the sky. It rained UFO reports as a result, and the press picked it up as well.

There were no orbital elements for the objects available yet on Space-Track, but based on the orbital information (53 degree inclination, initially 440 km orbital altitude) I had calculated a search orbit and stood ready with my camera.

My search orbit turned out to be not too bad: very close in sky track, and with the objects passing some 3 minutes early on the predictions. And what a SPECTACULAR view it was!

It started with two faint, flashing objects moving into the field of view. Then, a few tens of seconds later, my jaw dropped as the "train" entered the field of view. I could not help shouting "OAAAAAH!!!!" (followed by a few expletives...).

Here is the video I shot, be prepared to be mind-blown!



The video was shot, in a partly clouded sky, with a WATEC 902H low-light-level surveillance camera, equipped with a Canon FD 1.8/50 mm lens. I could count at least 56 objects in the original video.

Over the coming days the "train" of objects will be making 2-3 passes each night. As they are actively manoeuvering with their ion thrusters, they will be more spread out with each pass, so the "train" will probably quickly dissipate.

The objects were launched into a ~440 km altitude, 53 degree inclined orbit. Using their ion thrusters, they will raise their orbits to ~550 km the coming days/weeks.

65 comments:

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jig said...

very nice. just fyi:

https://twitter.com/TSKelso/status/1132125380045754368

this and your elset are fairly close, with predictions over the next 48 hours being less than minutes apart from each other.

ejmjensen said...

Absolutely amazing Marco! Your calcs stoned the center of the orbit which is impressive as all getout to this non-scientist. Thanks for posting sir. EJM Jensen, Arlington, TX

Paul Camilleri said...

Thanks Marco, that it what I saw from Australia, some 10hrs earlier than you it was a spectacular sight in my 20x80 Binoculars filled the 3.5 degree FOV. Wonderful sight.

Paul

Unknown said...

My family saw this tonight over southern Minnesota. They were full of wonder about what it was. I googled and found your excellent article. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Yes I saw the string of satellites last night from Cairns Australia and managed to get a handheld shot on my iPhone so pretty lucky our paths crossed. Anyone know of a tracking log that i can tap into Best regards Sean Reason

Unknown said...

My family saw this tonight over southern Minnesota. They were full of wonder about what it was. I googled and found your excellent article. Thank you.

Jose said...

Looks like Moore’s code anyone agree?

Unknown said...

We saw it from Mound, MN (Minneapolis) at about 12:15 AM. Spectacular and thank you for providing the excellent footage.

Unknown said...

It was amazing,have no idea what I saw last night tried to search it after but failed,I'm glad I found your post,now I know how to explain what I saw.(West Midlands UK)

Unknown said...

Wow! Could you post any current dutch times we can expect to see this again, today and the coming days? That would be super awesome.

John P said...

Its morse code,my friend.

Unknown said...

Impressive, to say the least! Thank you for sharing, Marco the Marvelous! Bravo!

Unknown said...

Saw this pass over Neath, South Wales at 23:58. Was a perfectly clear night and I had no clue what it was. Thank you for explaining what this was.

Sarcen said...

Is there any site indicating transit times?

Unknown said...

We saw the lights in Prince George B.C. Canada around 250 am.

Unknown said...

By two or three times a night. What would the the orbit time be per pass?

MykEL Creed Bey said...

That was my first thought aswell. If not Morse then def a code in general.

Unknown said...

Wow indeed, tbh my first reaction was "wtf?!" though.

Saw it over Austria; Salzburg right above my head, it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen :O

Unknown said...

Seen this last night at 23:55 over south west Scotland. Amazing

Unknown said...

Got a few pictures last night of this, it was crazy didn't know what it was

Bad Art Night said...

We saw them over the Finger Lakes in central NY, USA last night at 11:33pm. Amazed and perplexed, we found your article. Spectacular is right! Hope to see them again. Thank you!

Unknown said...

I saw them too last night by chance from my home in Oosterhout. it was absolutely amazing and it took me a whole 10 seconds before I realised what I was looking at!
Transit times could be found on calsky.com.

Regards, Wim Holwerda

Alexander Yastrebov said...

https://twitter.com/Marcin_Loboz/status/1132070509246652421

Unknown said...

We watched it in central MN last night around 12:07am. It was amazing!! I have pictures but can't figure out how to upload them

Елена said...

Я из России))) Видела это замечательное зрелище в 0ч30 мин по Москве. Первый мой возглас- Что это?!!!!Удивление было сильное))) Вы очень хорошо всё засняли. Просто класс!!!

Starfighter said...

When and where to see the next passes over Europe and the netherlands?

tupolev said...

Hey! I saw them too and was wondering since then what on earth was that!
I spent the night in a national park trying to capture some galaxies when twice (approx 0h and 2.10h UTC+2) that "array" of lights crossed the sky from West to East.


Now I see! Thanks for the video!

Unknown said...

More space junk while humans are dying of Cancer. Waste of money

Mary Clifton said...

Saw the lights over Milcombe Oxfordshire circa 23.45 Fridsy 24th May. It was awesome we watched it for quite a few minutes as it travelled eastwards.

Cesar said...

What a time to te alive! Nicely done, Marco!

mr dude said...

What's it say?

Dutchy said...

Thought the exact same thing as soon as I saw it...

bartv70 said...

Is there a site where i can see the orbit (live), just like the ISS?

Homeslice said...

Anyone know the timetable , locations, of future passes...? much appreciated, have a nice holiday

Nathalie said...

Same thing saw in Canada, Quebec City!!

Nathalie said...

Will we see it again tonight same time as yesterday??

Laura said...

Just experienced over Northern Ohio. What a sight!! Just amazing!!!

Mase said...

I saw this from my campsite at base of La Sal Mountains near Moab, Utah, at about 10:20 MST on 5/25. I'd like to see again. One p err rson says he saw 2nd time last night 2 hrs. 10 min. later.

Unknown said...

well then, I think I have figured out what my (ufo) was (for me it was Thursday night @ 11:30) location is northcentral Washington state, outside I was stargazing with a friend and he says.... what the … is that? 7 lights all in a line with trails, kinda a greenish colour, heading east. At first I thought it was a fireball, but there was no popping or flashes that are normally associated with those events. I am hoping someone can confirm these satellites are what I saw 2 nights ago as the tracking info is not there yet. but would 7 of these satellites remain that close after a full orbit with nothing else in sight? well thank you for the time and any responses I could receive.

Skywatcher said...

Starlink visibility calculator:
http://me.cmdr2.org/starlink/

KannurLive said...

Thank you soo much. I was searching for this calculator. Thank you once again for sharing the link

Unknown said...

At 2100 hours in India (in Kutch - Western Most part of India) many of our group members and active sky watchers have seen this spectacular view of Satellites' train...

Susan K. said...

My brother and I just happened to be looking at the sky last night and saw this. We are in southern Ohio and saw them just underneath what we thinks was Mars just after 11 p.m. I’m so glad to know what this was! It was amazing.

Unknown said...

We saw it too! From my front yard in Castle Valley UT at the foothills of the LaSal Mountains...We guessed that it was a breakup of a old satellite re-entering the atmosphere. Lots of WTF comments! :-)

Steve said...

Spotted it from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland at around 01:31 local time, spectacular sight.

Unknown said...

Camping in northern WI. forest . Viewed "train" at 10:55 pm cst.

calbookaddict said...

Saw them at 11:41 local time in Romania on Saturday, May 25.

Geoffry Abel Waringer said...

Saw it at about 00:15 CEDT on Sunday, May 25, near Frankfurt/Main (Germany). Big WHOW!

I had an extra I didn't saw mentioned here - I suppose that not everybody got that: Short before leaving my sight, each sat gave me a huge twinkle ... (precise: there seemed to be a direct reflection of sunlight to my position from each sat, where at a time two of 'em where "on" and the two adjacent sats were dimming on/of)

Unknown said...

Is this the beginning of heavy sky light polution?

Aren't these supposed to be geostationary?

Witht the final 12,000 sattelites, would it be expected to always see some of these in the sky while looking up at any time of the night?

Unknown said...

My son,husband and I saw it in Weimar,Texas USA Saturday evening about 21:30 May 25th. It's was an awesome sight.

Unknown said...

We saw them last night from Eagle River, Wisconsin, US - didn't know what we were looking at for sure until later. But clear cold air they were really bright! Awesome sight to see!

Jamie G said...

Did you see anything after this? We were in Canyonlands and watched this happen, but then after there were things moving or falling that looked like lights/stars that were spread across the sky and not in a line and falling at various paces and time. This lasted for minutes. Did anyone else see this?

Lbrentivie said...

Wow. We saw this unnerving site from a very remote dark sky camp site on the Utah - Arizona border on the 25th. UFO for sure. Happy to find out what it was!

Alesia said...

Was in the desert near Hanksville, UT this weekend and saw this!! It was incredible! Thanks for elucidating the source!

Kaz said...

Great video👍👍
Can I use this as a part of my video and re upload it.. I will mention the source for sure

JusMe said...

Seen these while camping in NM Sunday.Very neat.

Unknown said...

That's so amazing, Marco! How do I know if I can see them from Brazil? Can you help me with this, please? Thanks!

Kyle said...

My wife and I and a few other campers saw this while camping in Moab, Utah (at The Ledge Campground)over Memorial Day weekend, on Saturday May 25th around 10:30 (give or take). Another camper yelled out "WTF is that?!," and we looked up and saw it. A few of the satellites near the front of the train scintillated very brightly as they went overhead, which is what first got our attention. It looked like a meteor breaking up at first, but once the brightest lights died down we could see that there were many, many, points of light, all in a train, moving at a constant rate and maintaining a constant brightness (so, not a meteor, we reasoned). I came home this evening and started doing a google search to find out what it might have been and came upon this blog. Thanks for putting our minds to rest!

My Pet Dragon said...

Yeah...sorta cool, the tech is quite interesting...but I for one dislike looking up at man’s fingerprints in the sky...I get it, but losing the beauty of the heavens bums me as these won’t be the end of the story...not trying to rain on the parade😏

Denny said...

I saw this Friday night around that time in Augusta Maine, “New England” it was thousands of them and only one of them separated from the group going north east. I tried videoing it but it’s like they knew it was coming. I didn’t know what to think of it but I know we’re not alone..��������

wattbag said...

Why limit ourselves to land pollution when you can pollute the space for the same price? The price of overbid, stupidity and ineptitude? Sky owns to all, not to US neither to Tesla !! WTF Leave the sky intact, focus on ecology and human ground matters Munsk !

kay said...

Stunning captivating photo, though also concerning that we are ploughing ahead with this technology, increasing further the electro magnetic radiation levels throughout the atmosphere. Brussels has halted to roll out of 5G due to health concerns. Today 5G rollout is happening in several UK cities. There have been zero studies on the health impacts. Are we really so lacking in what we have or how important we feel, that we are happy to let a global roll out of tech that has zero health impact research, placing ourselves as guinea pigs in this project.

Unknown said...

Saw these may 25th around 11 PM. There were DEFINITELY more than 60 and they were so bright and blinking and glowing. Almost looked like Morse code. Also looked like they were all in a tube or structure of some sort. Another strange thing is that they didnt go from one horizon to the other, they appeared out of nowhere in the sky and dissapeared into nothingness. Very strange. It was a perfectly clear night. No clouds. This was in northeast Ohio.

Mark Ryan said...
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