JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Floridians with their eyes on the skies Friday night alerted us and our news partners farther north to a peculiar light formation tracking across the otherwise still stars.
Cutting to the chase, that was a batch of Starlink internet satellites, according to News 6 Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells, News4JAX and findstarlink.com, to name a few sources.
Chances are, you may have even watched those same Starlink units make their way to low-Earth orbit; findstarlink.com’s recent logs suggest the streak of satellites seen Friday over Jacksonville was comprised of units from either the Starlink Group 2-4 or 5-3 missions, which launched in January and two days ago, respectively.
We’ve covered the “Starlink train” before, as people call it, and we’ll probably cover it again at some point. The nation, though, seems to be going through a pointed relapse of UFO fever with those dubious balloons on tour — what the Pentagon believes are Chinese surveillance balloons — so, the time has come once again to talk about what we at least know for sure.
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According to SpaceX, Starlink satellites become visible from the ground as sunlight scatters off the units’ chassis and solar arrays. Though SpaceX claims “any satellite can be visible from Earth at night if it is illuminated by the Sun,” it has already had to make revisions in new Starlink generations to mitigate their brightness, which has drawn the ire of astronomers who complain that the thousands of Starlink units orbiting the planet are impacting scientific observations.
You can see a video of the lights at the top of this story, provided to us by News4JAX Videographer Josh Morgan.
SnapJAX user Alex submitted the following photo of Friday’s satellite train, telling News4JAX it was pointed out to him while he was leaving home.
Websites such as findstarlink.com — as well as a number of mobile applications — exist to help you determine the best viewing times for Starlink trains in your area.
Read further and see more on News4JAX.
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