Last week – on Monday, November 11, 2019 – a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 60 more Starlink satellites to Earth-orbit. According to Stephen Clark at SpaceFlightNow.com, the satellites traced paths across twilight skies around the world last week, and, even this morning (November 18) astrophotographers are still capturing them, as shown in this image from our friend Padraic Koen.
How long will we be able to see this batch of Starlink satellites? No one is exactly sure, but, even now, you’ll certainly need a dark sky. Clark explained:
… their brightness is expected to dim as the spacecraft – designed to beam broadband signals down to Earth – spread out and climb to higher altitudes.
The satellite-tracking website Heavens-Above.com updated its Starlink satellite page most recently on November 14. Go to its dynamic display of all objects from the recent Starlink launch.
SpaceX plans to launch thousands of Starlink satellites in the coming years, including hundreds more in 2020. The project will eventually place an initial 12,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide worldwide internet access. Each satellite is the size of a table and includes a reflective solar panel for power.
Bottom line: Composite of three 15-second photos – taken a few minutes apart – capturing 14 of the recently launched SpaceX Starlink satellites.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.