One of the positive things that confinement has brought us is that humans are paying more attention to the sky and nature around us. As our ancestors once studied the stars in order to create the world’s first calendars. The sky has fascinated man since the beginning of time.
Now, this new look at the stars has meant that, in the last few weeks, millions of people have discovered strange lights moving at high speed through the night sky. What are those one-color lights that move through the sky?
UFOs? A lot of people have wondered if these lights could be UFOs. Well, to put it briefly, no. Your eyes aren’t playing a trick on you but they’re not UFOs, they are the Spacex Starlink satellites.
The satellites you’ve been seeing in Europe are part of a much larger group of thousands of satellites that Spacex has launched or will launch into Low-Earth orbit, with the aim of providing global access to the Internet.
"Spacex is leveraging its experience in building rockets and spacecraft to implement the world’s most advanced broadband Internet system," says the company on its website. "With performance well beyond traditional satellite Internet and an unlimited global network due to the limitations of terrestrial infrastructure, Starlink will offer high-speed broadband Internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive or completely unavailable.”
It all began on March 18, when Elon Musk’s company, Spacex, launched a fleet of 60 Starlink satellites into space for Low-Earth orbit. In fact, Musk himself wrote on Twitter about the successful launch of satellites into space through the official account.
Elon Musk’s 60 Spacex Starlink satellites regularly appear on a line across the night sky. There are many amateur astronomers who have used web and mobile tools to verify when we can see them in the sky.
So far, the aerospace company has transported 300 satellites into space and is working for a planned network of 12,000, with the aim of improving global Internet coverage. They all go in batches of 60.
This may be familiar, as similar confusion occurred last year when Spacex launched its first Starlink satellites, a UFO sighting website received more than 150 reports about the satellite train.
Concern for the mega-constellation
However, many astronomers have already warned that thousands of new satellites orbiting the Earth could end up ruining the view of the night sky and disrupting the radio frequencies used to observe the universe. On the latter, Spacex is coordinating with the European radio astronomy community and the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory to minimise any potential impact on radio astronomy activities, reducing the brightness of its satellites with a "parasol" and including a darker exterior coating.