Often when we look up at the sky, we see strange lights in a row, like a train. Well, those are not aliens, but simply Starlink satellites. Starlink is a constellation system of satellites that aims to provide global internet coverage. This system is ideal for rural and geographically isolated areas where internet connectivity is unreliable or nonexistent. SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, is the company behind this system, with the goal of creating a global broadband network. Starlink uses a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) to provide high-speed internet services.
Tonight, on November 12, 2023, at 6:03 PM, there will be a very bright passage of the Starlink satellite train. To locate the passage, you can rely on the compass on your smartphone. The passage will last about 5 minutes, but it is recommended to position yourself a bit earlier. You can download the map for your city to find the exact location and time of the passage.
You can easily find out where and when these satellites will be visible in your city by visiting the Heavens-Above website. Select your city in the top right corner and then choose “Starlink passes” from the menu. The website will provide maps with the date and time of visibility. You can also discover the passes of other satellites and the International Space Station (ISS) on this site.
However, while the spectacle of the Starlink satellite train is awe-inspiring, there is a downside. These satellites contribute to light pollution, which affects the night sky. The brightness of these satellites, even when not visible to the naked eye, can disrupt professional and amateur astronomical observations. It also poses a risk of collisions in space, which could render these orbits unusable.
The proliferation of satellites is turning the once pristine night sky into a memory of the past, even in remote locations unaffected by artificial light pollution. It is important to be aware of the impact that satellite constellations like Starlink have on the night sky and ongoing efforts to address this issue.
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