Sunday, 19 January 2020

Imaging Starlink 2

click to enlarge

A new set of 60 Starlink satellites, Starlink 2 (the third launch), was launched by SpaceX early on January 7th. Over the past 10 days, all passes were in earth shadow for my 51 degree North latitude, but as of this weekend, the satellites start to make low visible passes in evening twilight.

Yesterday evening was one of the first opportunities. The Starlink satellite "train", already dispersing as their orbits are raised, would make a pass low south with a maximum elevation at 28 degrees, where they would enter earth shadow.

Conditions were dynamic, with fields of clouds moving in the sky. Initially, the part of the sky where they should be brightest was obscured by a cloud, so I pointed the camera more west and lower in the sky.

The image below is a stack of 65 images, 5 seconds exposure each with 1 second intervals, taken between 17:52:50 - 17:59:15 UT (representing a 6m 25s period), with a Canon EOS 80D and EF 2.5/50 mm Macro lens set at F2.8, 1000 ISO. There is a band of Starlink objects, diagonally from lower right to upper left crossing behind the tree. These are objects in the 'head' of the Starlink 2 main "train":

click to enlarge

When the sky near the satellite culmination point also cleared of the field of clouds, I repositioned the camera to that point and captured the last part of the main "train" tail.

The first image below is a stack of 10 images, taken between 17:59:30 - 18:00:30 UT, representing a 1-minute period. The objects can be seen entering earth shadow at left.

The second image below is a single shot image (5-second exposure) from that series, showing four Starlink objects.

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

Near their culmination point, the Starlink satellites were clear naked-eye objects, with a brightness of approximately mag. +2.5 tot +3.0.

The images were taken from the center of Leiden town in the Netherlands, in a twilight sky that suffers quite some light pollution.


Limax7 said...

Great observations ! I'm still waiting for them here in Poland. I'll try to catch them in photos or video.

Stevetynant said...

They came accross S Wales in the UK last night - wasn't really sure what I was watching to begin with I'll be honest but clearly visible @ 18:15