This set of Starlink satellites, number 13, was launched a few days ago, June 13th, and the stream of satellites passed over my location in western Missouri early this morning. The stream, SpaceX’s 9th launch, consisted of 58 Starlink satellites, and 3 SkySat Planet Satellites (Hi-res Earth surface pictures) following a path from the southwest to the northeast. The stream went past the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp. Apparent magnitude was at least 2nd as they appeared at least as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper (1st – 2nd apparent magnitudes), but not as bright as Vega (0.0 apparent magnitude).
The two pictures below are time-exposures, and I processed them into black and white and made some contrast adjustments. The camera lens was centered around the ‘Summer Triangle’ and aimed nearly straight overhead toward the west.
My personal challenge is to find a camera setting or video setting to capture the stream as individual ‘dots’.
Keep up with viewing Starlink, the ISS, and many other satellites by checking with the Heavens Above web site or cellphone App. Note: the link is set for my latitude and longitude. This may be changed to your location at the Heavens Above web site.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.
Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.
Growing up during the 1960s I often spent many evenings outside with my father watching for satellites to pass over where we lived. I learned how to differentiate between an airplane and a satellite by watching the object as it approached the horizon. An airplane lights may be followed all the way to the horizon while the reflected sunlight from a satellite appears and disappears above the horizon as the satellite moves out of and then back into the Earth’s shadow. This was the early days of satellite technology and the time of communication satellites like Telstar, as well as satellites we presumed were Russian spy satellites.
In today’s world satellites and space exploration have lost some of the public awareness and popularity. However there are many easy to see satellites including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, a variety of communication satellites, and most recently the Starlink Satellites.
The Starlink is a satellite built by SpaceX for the intention of providing satellite Internet access. Initially the focus will be on satellites providing Internet connection for much of North America but with the eventual launching of around 12,000 satellites the entire globe may have satellite Internet access.
Currently the Starlink satellites appear in groups of 50 or so and look like a string of bright pearls stretched across the sky. Watch the video below of the Starlink Satellites passing over England.
The Starlink Satellites move rapidly compared to the ISS and the group last night, in my pictures, were around 2nd magnitude or brighter. The group moved out the northwest past the Big Dipper and Arcturus toward the southeast. The satellites appear as streaks of light because the pictures were time exposures lasting 5 or 6 seconds each.
Use the Heavens Above web site for maps and times for viewing the ISS, Starlink and other satellites.
Use the NASA ISS Sightings web site for specific viewing times and directions for your location.
Use this web site, What the Astronauts See Right Now, for a simulated view from the ISS looking down at the Earth’s surface it is orbiting over.
Fancy seeing something really cool? (some saw it last night)
⬇️This is the #Starlink satellite train from the @SpaceX program and will be visible tonight 🛰. 👀 Look SW to E at around 10pm for 6mins.