Swarm of Elon Musk's Starlink internet satellites snapped soaring over Britain on Wednesday
BRIGHT swarms of Starlink satellites soared across the night sky over Britain again yesterday evening – as billionaire Elon Musk launched dozens more of the gadgets into orbit.
The satellites, operated by Musk's rocket firm SpaceX, put on a dazzling display for stargazers across the UK just after 9:30pm on Wednesday.
SpaceX, which is based in California, hopes to one day put more than 40,000 Starlink satellites into orbit.
The "mega constellation" will then beam cheap, super-fast internet to people across the globe.
Amateur astronomers took to Twitter last night to express their delight at the Starlink display, which looked a bit like a series of slow shooting stars.
They also shared snaps of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket deploying 60 more of the satellites into orbit following liftoff from a launchpad in Florida on Wednesday evening.
The successful mission means SpaceX now has 420 operational Starlink satellites in space, according to Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla.
One stargazer wrote on Twitter: "Loved watching the Starlink launch and 15 mins later watching the 2nd stage pass overhead."
Another tweeted: "It was great to see #Starlink6 fly over the UK a short while ago, 20 mins after launch. Moved much faster than I expected!"
The satellites have now graced the skies over Britain every night since Sunday, and are expected to be visible throughout this week.
Despite plenty of successful sightings, not everyone has managed to spot the satellites.
"Did ANYONE actually see the @elonmusk Satellites over the UK tonight? We certainly didn't!" one uer moaned on Wedesnday.
Starlink has permission to launch 12,000 satellites, a figure that could rise to as many as 42,000 in the future.
Once in place, the network will be able to beam internet coverage down to any location on Earth.
What is Starlink?
Here's what you need to know about Elon Musk's satellites…
- Starlink is a satellite project led by billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
- Musk intends to put 12,000 satellites into Earth's orbit, possibly rising to 42,00 in future
- The 'mega-constellation' will eventually be able to beam internet coverage to anywhere on the planet
- SpaceX also intends to sell satellites for military, scientific and exploratory purposes
- The firm sends its satellites up in batches of 60 at a time and has so far deployed more than 360 into orbit.
- The satellites are launched atop unmanned Falcon 9 rockets, which are also built by SpaceX
- How the space tech will affect the night sky is causing concern as they look bright in the night sky
- Astronomers and amateur stargazers have repeatedly blasted the firm for ruining their observations
- SpaceX argues that its satellites are only bright shortly after launch because they sit in a low orbit
- Over several weeks, the satellites apparently move further from Earth, dampening their effect on space observations
Reports of sightings this week have been spread across the UK, with users in London, Manchester and Leeds among those taking to social media to report seeing the craft.
Some people have compared the dazzling satellites to UFOs.
"These starlink satellites in the uk are terrifying me those m****r f****rs looking like UFOS," one Twitter user wrote on Monday.
Another quipped: "I’m seeing the #Starlink satellites but they’re going off in different directions. Not a straight formation. Unless these are UFOs."
According to space experts, the current high rate of sightings is due to the satellites being in low orbit after they first launch.
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60 before they gradually rise to a higher orbit and become less visible.
The most recent batch was fired into space yesterday evening, following another launch in mid-March.
The satellites have been deliberately designed to be light and compact so they can be launched in large batches.
However, despite interest in the project, some have raised concerns over the impact the new network could have on other activities, such as astronomy.
As a result, SpaceX has started to coat the devices with dark paint in order to reduce their brightness.
Musk recently assured astronomers that Starlink satellites will not interfere with observations.
Speaking at a conference in Washington DC last month, he said: "I am confident that we will not cause any impact whatsoever in astronomical discoveries. Zero. That’s my prediction."
Several websites allow people to track the current locations of the satellites, including findstarlink, where users can also see when Starlink is likely to be visible to them again.
That website suggests parts of the UK could also see a flyover from a group of the satellites just before 9pm BST on Thursday night.
In other news, Nasa astronauts will launch into space from US soil next month for the first time in nearly a decade.
An amazing SpaceX video recently revealed how the company will one day fire astronauts to the ISS.
SpaceX apparently wants the US Army to use the 18,000 mile-an-hour spacecraft to transport troops & supplies across the planet in "minutes".
What do you think of Musk's satellite plan? Let us know in the comments!
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