You Can See Starlink Satellite Trains


Almost 15 years later, seeing the aurora borealis is a bit like a drug, says photographer Ronn Murray.

“Once you get a taste for it … you’re always trying to see it again because you get this kind of spiritual high from it.”

The lakes by Delta Junction in Alaska weren’t frozen over yet when it was just dark enough to see the magical halation over the night’s sky and another phenomenon Murray instantly knew — a moving train of lights.

Guide and part-owner of the Aurora Chasers, an Alaska based tour group, Murray had seen the lineup of satellites a few days prior. He recognized it from other people’s accounts but had never seen it himself. Literally the stars aligned, and the night sky opened up on a drive 150 miles outside of Fairbanks. The footage shows what looks like stars trailing one another amid the emerald glow of the northern lights.

Diagram of a Starlink satellite

Ion thrusters

4.3 ft

(1.3 m)

9.1 ft (2.8 m)

A loaf of bread

Solar panels unfold after launch

extending to over 26 ft (8 m)

“We were a bit baffled at first then realized, ‘wait that must be Starlink.’ Then my wife got her star tracker app out, and it showed that’s what we had seen.”

The view, while equal parts mesmerizing as it is surprising, has astronomers wondering, is there any way to dim the lights on these satellites or are we doomed to a mega constellation future?

Murray captured the 46 objects launched on Aug. 31 by SpaceX clumped together, reflecting the sun back to observers on Earth. These satellites are part of the growing Starlink constellation aimed at providing broadband internet across the globe, much in the manner Global Positioning System (GPS) provides location data to cellphones around the planet.

But unlike GPS, the task requires tens of thousands of satellites for service to work without drops in coverage. In three years, the aerospace company SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, has gone from 60 satellites to launching over 3,500 Starlinks to date. Nearly half of all active satellites are from SpaceX, according to data from the nonprofit satellite tracker CelesTrak. A recent FCC authorization approved the launch of 7,500 more satellites and a nodding sentiment in the company’s plan to launch 30,000 orbiting internet boxes. A feat, that at this rate, they could achieve before 2050.

SpaceX eclipses satellite launches since 1980 2,000 satellites In four years time, Starlinks make up 40% of all satellites ever successfully deployed. The 1960s to the end of the 1980s saw predominantly government objects placed in orbit. Now commercial applications lead the space race.

Why do we see Starlink satellite trains?

Most satellites are visible. Timing is everything.

The most famous satellite, our moon, is visible as it traverses our sky. We see the lunar surface because one half of it is pointed at our sun at all times. It’s easier to see the moon at night when we are in the shadow of the Sun, also known as nighttime.

These principles hold up for smaller orbiting bodies as well. If you time it right, you can see the International Space Station (ISS) at night. You can see it pass in front of a full moon.

Starlink satellites are also quite luminous, something they’ve been working on dimming with the astronomical community since they started launching satellites.

The most distinct factor in creating Starlink trains has to do with physics.



TB Joshua’s Emmanuel TV Willfully Pulls Out From DStv, GoTv and Starsat

Previous article

Google To lay Off 30 000 Employees

Next article


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *