Lookup! for a string of SpaceX StarLink satellites

24 April 2022

The latest addition to the Starlink internet satellite constellation will be visible tonight about an hour after sunset.

Beginning around 8:56 p.m., look to the northwestern horizon for a line of small lights, 53 in all, rising upward. Thet will pass nearly overhead just before 9:00 p.m. before disappearing into the Earth’s shadow above the southeastern horizon by 9:03 p.m.

Some describe the string of lights as resembling a train, or even ducklings following a mother duck.

SpaceX Starlink satellites

The satellites are over Illinois as they come into view then follow a line that takes them over Charlotte, then Myrtle Beach.

Launched from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Thursday, April 21 at 1:51 p.m., this is the latest batch of office desk sized satellites designed to provide global internet service. There are generally 6-8 Starlink satellites in our skies at any point in time. In the days following a launch, they can be seen because though dark here on the ground, sunlight is still reaching these as they orbit at about 200 miles above the Earth.

Following launch, each satellite is moved into its final orbit by raising its altitude and spreading out the flock of satellites.

The same 53 satellites will be visible Monday evening beginning at 9:13 p.m. rising from the west. But this pass will be more than 5 times dimmer, and more widely spaced making them more difficult to see. By Tuesday this batch of Starlinks will be lost from view.

Starlink satellite pass

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