Elon Musk’s, 48, ambitious Starlink project promises to beam internet across the globe from a constellation of 12,000 satellites. And though astronomers have expressed their concerns about Starlink polluting the night skies, many are also excited about the constellation. More than 400 Starlink satellites have already been launched into orbit and some are cropping up in the night skies.
Although there is no guarantee you will spot one overhead, Starink trails have been seen this month on clear nights.
The SpaceX satellites travel in trains, appearing as fast-moving dots of light.
One lucky stargazer from London tweeted on Sunday, April 26: “A gazillion Starlink-5 satellites slow trained over SW London last night at 10.21pm.
“Although relatively bright, a challenge to capture with the M25. You’ll need to zoom in.”
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Can you see Starlink tonight?
Starlink trains can be hard to spot if the skies are cloudy or you live in a densely populated area.
As with all astronomy, light pollution is your biggest enemy.
Starlink satellites are visible from Earth because they are in low Earth orbit (LEO) and their solar panels reflect sunlight back at us.
Gradually, the trains will raise their orbit until they become harder to spot.
But SpaceX has vowed to launch a new batch of 60 Starlink satellites every month until the constellation is complete, meaning you will have many more chances to see the trains.
Many reports of failed sightings were received for Starlink this week
According to the Starlink tracker Findstarilnk.com, there is a chance you will see some satellites tonight (April 27).
The website can tell you whether any satellites will pass overhead on a given night and whether they will be visible.
All times below are in BST and are for stargazers in London.
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Starlink visibility from London on April 27
Timings with poor visibility:
9.21pm – Starlink-5 – For six minutes.
Look from the west to the east.
10.57pm – Starlink-5 – For five minutes.
Look from the west to the east.
2.52am – Starlink-3 – For three minutes.
Look from the northwest to the east.
You can also check a live map on the website to see the orbital path of the satellites across the globe.
However, keep in mind the sightings are not guaranteed.
You might only spot one or two, or zero satellites tonight.
The satellites complete a lap around Earth every 90 minutes, so if you miss one train at 9pm, it should reappear at 10.30pm.
The website’s creator said: “Many reports of failed sightings were received for Starlink this week. I’m very sorry it didn’t work out.
“After investigating – and with Dr Marco Langbroek’s guidance – it seems to have been caused by not taking into account the shape and possible orientation of the Starlink satellites.
“The software has been fixed, and I hope that solves most of the problems, but there are still no guarantees you’ll see Starlink.
“I’ve been wrong before and I’ll continue monitoring this. I apologize for the inconvenience, and understand how annoying it must be to try several times and not see anything.”
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