Starlink's "string of pearls"

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rwilkinson
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Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:07 pm

As we enter the New Year, prepare for more interference from bright satellite trails:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50870117

Shortly after their previous launch in November Cheryl spotted a "train" of lights in the pre-dawn sky one morning, but at the time we weren't sure what they were.
Whilst researching them, I found that Starlink are planning to send up a fresh batch (of 60) satellites every few weeks through 2020 - check out their launch schedule here:
https://www.rocketlaunch.live/?filter=s ... x-starlink

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:17 am

Their latest batch of sixty satellites ("Starlink 2") was launched overnight:
https://www.rocketlaunch.live/launch/starlink-3

The Satflare website has predictions of their positions, which will be updated once their orbits are measured:
https://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=St ... &sck=1#TOP
There don't appear to be any visual passes (which only occur in twilight) over here in the next five days.

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:28 pm

Some discussion of the potential impacts of these mega-constellations of satellites on astronomical research:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51049746

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:41 pm

An observer in Fort Worth (Texas) has posted a video of "the train" of new Starlink satellites on the day of their launch:
https://youtu.be/FBbzAFXoloQ
It really does look like an airborne train-load of carriages on this clip!

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:20 am

There should be some opportunities to see these satellites over the coming week.
Tonight they will be passing over Spain and France a few minutes before 6pm:
2020-01-18 STARLINK Train.jpg
2020-01-18 STARLINK Train.jpg (57.72 KiB) Viewed 9136 times
so they will appear low in the South from here:
2020-01-18 view.png
2020-01-18 view.png (76.1 KiB) Viewed 9136 times
They will be much higher in the sky later in the week, but the weather forecasts are not promising.

Detailed predictions can be obtained from SatFlare: https://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=StarLink2#TOP

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:49 pm

Have a look towards the SW (near to Venus) around 6:40 this evening:
starlink_20jan.png
starlink_20jan.png (74.52 KiB) Viewed 9116 times
Where the orbital path is green the satellites will be sunlit, but where it turns grey they pass into eclipse.

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:04 pm

The fourth batch (of sixty) satellites were launched today:
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Starlink-4 mission on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 2:06 PM (UTC).
Launch, first stage recovery, fairing half recovery (1 of 2), and satellite deployment were successful

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:30 pm

I've just watched a live webcast of the Falcon 9 launch of the latest batch of 60 Starlink satellites:
https://youtu.be/8xeX62mLcf8
The satellites were successfully deployed into orbit, and will be using their ion propulsion units to manoeuvre into their final positions over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, we may be able to see the "train" of satellites around twilight (if we ever get any clear skies!).
Tracking details can be found here: https://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=StarLinkLaunch#TOP

Unfortunately, the first stage of the rocket didn't quite make it back onto the "drone-ship" landing platform, but splashed down into the sea nearby.

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:50 am

Tonight may provide a good opportunity to look out for the train of satellites which were launched on 7th January.
They will be passing almost overhead in the early evening, with predicted magnitudes around 3-4.
For example, this is for STARLINK-1119:
PassSkyChart.png
STARLINK-1119 pass for Bolton on 25-Mar.
PassSkyChart.png (68.3 KiB) Viewed 7616 times
Look out for it passing Venus soon after 8pm?

See Heavens Above for further details: https://heavens-above.com/StarlinkLaunchPasses.aspx
Set your location as Bolton and choose the Starlink 2 Launch.

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Re: Starlink's "string of pearls"

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:41 am

I finally managed to see some Starlink satellites last night - at least 30 of them!
They were surprisingly difficult to spot: I only saw them once they were very high in the sky, flying through the "sickle of Leo" around 11pm.
These were from the batch launched on 18th March, which are passing high overhead in the early evenings at the moment.

There will be another opportunity tonight:
starlink.gif
starlink.gif (229.41 KiB) Viewed 7237 times

They will be rising through Orion and heading towards Arcturus:
starlink2.gif
starlink2.gif (60.03 KiB) Viewed 7237 times

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