Australia

Those bright lights over Sydney? Not aliens, just Elon Musk


Trails of vibrant lights struck Sydney’s skies over the weekend however, regardless of their UFO-like look, astronomers say one thing barely nearer to Earth was accountable: Elon Musk’s Starlink firm.

Dozens of satellites from the SpaceX subsidiary have been launched on Saturday (Sydney time) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, as they made their manner south-east right into a low-Earth orbit.

The Starlink satellites coming into low-Earth orbit as seen from Sydney.Credit:Kelly Ireland and Jen Waltmon

The satellites have been the newest in a collection of greater than 2000 already-launched objects, that are a part of Starlink’s bid to offer quick broadband entry to individuals in “areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable”, its web site says.

The 53 satellites launched from the US caught the eye of Sydneysiders on Saturday evening due to the comparatively new manner through which they have been launched, stated Dr Brad Tucker, an astrophysicist on the Australian National University.

Each dot is a person satellite tv for pc launched metres aside, earlier than slowly spreading out by a whole bunch of metres, he stated.

“They always look weird … because they fly in these lines, or constellation,” he stated. “We’re talking about a fairly close formation in a very tight orbit, and this is because they want this global [broadband] coverage. They need to have the satellites flying in flight paths so the exact same points are covered every time.”

The sheer variety of satellites flying overhead mixed with the timing of Starlink’s launch meant Sydney had a short a present within the sky, Tucker stated. Satellites are primarily solely seen from Earth when the solar displays on them.

“You’re only going to see a satellite up to about two hours after sunset or before sunrise. And that is because the angle of the sun can still reflect off the satellites and then back down to Earth,” he stated.

“These [satellites] always stand out because you see them in a row.”



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