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SpaceX's Starlink Satellites Put on a Celestial Show Over the Netherlands

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But stargazers worry more satellites could hinder our views of the night sky.

While it wasn't a UFO, the spectacle that played out over the skies in Leiden, Netherlands, sure looked like one. However, the procession of dazzling lights in the sky turned out to be 60 SpaceX Starlink satellites that were launched on May 23.

The video was captured by Marco Langbroek, an astronomer and spy satellite tracker, who was able to record the incredible satellite formation by calculating the orbit of the launch of the Falcon 9. His calculations—while not exact—were pretty on the money.

"My search orbit turned out to be not too bad: very close in sky track, and with the objects passing some 3 minutes early on the predictions. And what a SPECTACULAR view it was!" Langbroek said on his blog.


SpaceX's Starlink satellites aim to provide internet service on a global scale, especially in underserved areas, a similar plan pitched by other tech companies like Facebook and Google. SpaceX is planning between three and seven Starlink launches this year with each rocket carrying 60 satellites in the hopes of getting approximately a thousand into orbit to begin providing low-cost internet access.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes to have 12,000 Starlink satellites in space by the mid 2020's. This ambitious goal has raised concerns from some astronomers who worry about the affect the satellites will have on visibility. As Langbroek's footage shows, the satellites are bright and seem quite easy to spot with the naked eye. Such a proliferation of Starlink satellites in orbit could disrupt the natural beauty of the night sky.

But for now, Musk is 11,940 satellites short of that goal.
https://vimeo.com/338361997
Source: Phys.org

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