SpaceX launched 60 new satellites into orbit today (November 11). The weather allows, you just might be able to see the spacecraft soar above your night sky tonight. Of course, you'll need to know where to look.
The new Starlink satellites are the second batch to join SpaceX's growing Broadband constellation in orbit. They follow the May launch of 60 other satellites, which surprised observers with how bright they appeared in the night sky. On the night after launch, these first Starlink satellites appeared as a brilliant string of pearls in the night sky.
"Due to the date and time of the launch, the visibility conditions are not as good for Northwest Europe, where I am, nor really for the US, as they were in May." Dutch-based satellite tracker Marco Langbrook, who shot a video of the Starlink train in the sky, told Space.com in an email today. That's because the new Starlink satellites only have a few days evening crossings over Europe and the United States before moving into daylight for the near future, he added.
Yet Langbrock added: "As they appear to be aiming at a lower operational altitude (350 km) than the previous 60 (these were inserted 440 km, so that it is already 1
So the new satellites launched today can be seen as their counterparts in May for at least the next few nights. So how do you see them?
Video: Watch SpaceX Launch 60 New Starlink Satellites Into Orbit!
The key for any satellite tracker is to know when and where to look. Fortunately, there are several websites that provide forecasts to help amateur observers determine which direction to look. and when for any area.
The Heavens-Above.com tracking site already has a ready page for launching St arlink 2. You can visit this Starlink page on the site to see the orbit of the new satellites. The direct link to the Starlink Launch 2 visible weather forecast is here, but be sure to update the "location" marker at the top right of the page for
The next site you should try is N2Y0.com, which automatically displays your coordinates from your browser to show when and where certain bright satellites (and yes, and International Space Station).
Another useful site is CalSky here. CalSky asks you to enter the satellite you want to see (either by name or official number if you know it). You can just type "Starlink" and hit "Go!" to find your personal forecast in Watch Opportunities for each satellite.
"For future observers, I would ouncil to verify predictions for your location Calsky of Heavens. and allow a few minutes of uncertainty in the time of transition, "said Langbrok. "I expect them to be bright now, they are still very low, but having comfortable binoculars would be a good idea. Make sure your eyes are adapted to the dark (ie, spend about 125 minutes in the dark at least avoiding the light of the lamp). " The train view seen in May will probably only be visible in the next two nights, Langbrook said. So, you'll want to make sure it works quickly. By the time the satellites are visible again at night, they will be dissolved in their final orbits and less vision, Langobrock added.
SpaceX launches new Starlink satellites in an orbit of 174 miles (280 kilometers), but each of the 60 satellites is equipped with an ion engine that slowly lifts its orbit to an altitude of about 350 km.
Not everyone is as excited to see the Starlink Starlink fleet in the night sky as Langbroek was in May when he called the view "spectacular."
Astronomers complain that bright satellites could threaten scientific night-sky observations. , especially since SpaceX plans to launch at least 12,000 Starlink satellites for its megacell, and is able to add another 30,000 satellites in the future. With other companies such as Amazon, OneWeb and Telesat, they are planning their megaconferences, even Langbroek has concerns.
"I have concerns about these mega-stars in low Earth orbit. One is
what it will do in our night sky – on a clear summer night, there is always one
or several satellites (s) visible at almost any given time already, "Langbrook said." With so many things that will being added in a short time of just a few years, this will dramatically change the way we experience our night sky: the old nature of the night sky will be mostly lost. "
StarXx 60 launches of its most flying Falcon 9 rocket yet, making its fourth launch and landing, on Nov. 11. 2019
(Image Image: SpaceX)
The 60 Starlink StarX satellites launched on November 11 can be seen in the correct camera view in that image after deploying their payload.
(Image Credit: SpaceX)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the company is seeking to reduce the brightness of the satellites. Musk and other SpaceX representatives also point out that Starlink satellites are designed for a mission life of between one and five years.
At the end of Starlink's mission, the satellite was designed to use its ionic engine to deorb and burn in the Earth's atmosphere to avoid the threat of space debris for other spacecraft, SpaceX said.
] Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the orbit intended for this Starlink launch. That's 217 miles (350 kilometers), not 341 miles (550 km).