A line of light streaked across the night sky on August 22, leaving some stargazers in the south of France in confusion or wonder before they took to the internet to answer the age-old question: “ What do we see in the sky? »
What is this line of light?
The lights were not from a UFObut of something much more banal: the train SpaceX Starlink satellitestrong of more than 2,500 unitswhich was traveling in low orbit in the night sky over southern France.
” I saw a line of probably 25 lights, if not more, moving in a line across the sky and then they just disappeared. Anyone else seen this?“, asked a user on Facebook.
” Someone in Grasse last weekend saw a crazy line of white lights in the sky on Friday night“, asked another user. ” 99.9% sure it was Starlink, but it looked different than what I’ve usually seen from Starlink launches. Just curious. »
The satellites are part of the Elon Musk’s ultimate planwhich provides for a network of 45,000 satellites providing high-speed internet in the whole world. First, in 2019, SpaceX sent 60 satellites in the air. Within days, stargazers, astronomers and SpaceX were shocked at how bright the satellites were.
Nicknamed ” megaconstellations“, some think that the satellites will interfere with terrestrial astronomy.
” Some phenomena will surely not be discovered due to strong interference“, can we read in an August 25 report of the American Astronomical Society and NOIRLab.
Why are they on?
Satellites have no light. What we actually see is the sunlight reflecting off satellites. According to an article in the magazine Discoverthe satellites are so bright because they are close to us.
Are SpaceX satellites connected?
A straight line of lights appears to be related, but it is not. Richard Fienberg, press officer of the American Astronomical Societytold the AP that the satellites are launched in groups called constellation and they travel line as they move towards their orbit.
” The way you can tell they’re Starlink satellites is they’re like a string of pearls, these lights traveling in the same base orbit, one after the other“, said Fienberg.
Fienberg said the sons will become smaller as time passes and the satellites move away from each other.