Several dozen satellites linked to Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service were noticed and caused some people to misunderstand.
This is not an alien invasion, nor a military attack. Over the weekend, many Internet users shared photos and videos of a strange line of shiny objects in the sky, visible in many French regions (especially in the South and in the East). It is actually about fifty satellites from Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, which were launched on August 19. They are used to provide Starlink Internet service.
On Twitter, but also with several media, observers spoke of their incomprehension in the face of what seemed to them to be UFOs, even missiles. Since its launch, this set of satellites has appeared every evening, lit by their solar panels.
“The satellites are visible thanks to the reflection of the sun on their panels. That’s why they are brighter at dusk or at dawn. I saw them for the first time yesterday, it can really surprise people who do not know the project” explains Eric Lagadec, president of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics, to BFMTV.
Other passages planned
On the Web, Find Starlink website allows you to know the time of passage of these satellites above your city. The “train of satellites” launched on August 19 should thus still be visible, to a lesser extent, on August 23 and 24, before they are completely dispersed and have joined their different orbits at an altitude which will make them invisible from the ground. .
Launched in 2018, the Starlink constellation is regularly the subject of observations of the same nature, all over the world. Ultimately, it should accumulate more than 40,000 low-altitude satellites.
The service, offered for a hundred euros per month (including in France), offers a powerful connection to the Internet, especially in areas that are not connected to fiber. It can also be useful in an emergency. It is thus used by tens of thousands of people in Ukraine, while many technical infrastructures have been destroyed since the start of the conflict against Russia.