Stargazers left baffled by mysterious light display – but there’s a simple explanation linked to Elon Musk
STUNNED stargazers spotted a strange trail of flashing objects over the weekend.
Sightings were reported across the North West of America, including Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, as well as Canada.
The occurrence was particularly peculiar because the lights seemed to travel in a straight line together.
“So that is the oddest thing I have ever seen in the sky,” one onlooker said.
“Slow moving line of lights just passed over Southern Ontario.
“Anyone got an explanation?”
This obviously led some observers to speculate that it could be aliens but the truth is much closer to home.
The shinning lights were actually satellites.
Satellites belonging to Elon Musk’s SpaceX to be exact.
The tech billionaire launched his latest batch of Starlink internet satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Friday.
He’s already got thousands up in low Earth orbit, but he wants to have up to 42,000 eventually.
It’s actually not the first time the kit has caused such a spectacle – though it’s not one appreciated by astronomers.
Experts have previously complained that SpaceX’s tech is blocking their view of stars.
They say the satellites ruin their observations of the skies.
A study has warned that their bright glare is even affecting images used to spot potentially dangerous asteroids.
There are also fears a catastrophic clutter of space debris left behind by satellites could potentially block rockets from leaving Earth, an effect known as “Kessler Syndrome”.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a satellite project launched by billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2015.
Musk intends to put 12,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit over next decade, possibly rising to 42,000 in future.
The “mega-constellation” will eventually be able to beam internet coverage to anywhere on the planet, according to SpaceX.
The California company says its network will provide users with high-speed, low-latency internet coverage.
Latency is the time it takes to send data from one point to the next.
Because Starlink sats are 60 times closer to Earth than most satellites, SpaceX’s WiFi latency is lower than traditional satellite internet.
They’re launched from Cape Carnaveral in Florida atop unmanned Falcon 9 rockets, which are also built by SpaceX.
The effect of the low-orbiting tech on views of the night sky is a major concern, as they appear brighter than many stars and planets.
Astronomers and amateur stargazers have repeatedly blasted SpaceX for ruining their observations.
The company argues that its satellites are only bright shortly after launch because they sit in a low orbit.
Over several weeks, the satellites move further from Earth, apparently dampening their effect on space observations.
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