SpaceX launched 60 new satellites today (November 11). If the weather permits, you may be able to see the swarm of the spaceship hovering above your night sky tonight. Of course, you need to know where to look.
The new Starlink satellites are the second to join the growing broadband Internet constellation of SpaceX in orbit. They follow the launch of 60 other satellites in May, which surprised the observers with their brightness in the night sky. The night after their launch, these first Starlink satellites appeared as a brilliant pearl necklace in the night sky.
"Due to the launch date and start time, the visibility conditions for northwestern Europe where I am and for the US are not as good as in May." Dutch-based satellite tracker Marco Langbroek, who had recorded the video of the Starlink train in the sky, told Space.com today in an email. That's because the new Starlink satellites pass through Europe and the US just a few days in the evening before coming to light for the near future, he added.
Langbroek added, "Because they are aiming for a lower orbit altitude (350 km) than the previous 60 (they were added at 440 km, which is already 1
So the new satellites launched today could be visible at least for the next as their May counterparts nights. So, how do you see them?
Video: SpaceX launch 60 new Starlink satellites in orbit!
The key to every satellite tracker is knowing when and where to look – fortunately, there are several websites Provide forecasts to help amateur observers determine which direction and in what areas they need to look when.
The Heavens-Above.com tracking site here already has a Starlink Launch 2 page ready You can visit this Starlink page on the website to see the orbit of the new satellites. The direct link to predict the visible passes for Starlink Launch 2 is here. However, do not forget to update the "location" tag at the top right of the page to get your specific visibility forecast.
The next site you should try is N2Y0.com, where your coordinates are automatically retrieved from your browser to indicate when and where certain bright satellites (and indeed the International Space Station) are visible.
Another useful site is CalSky. CalSky prompts you to enter the satellite you are looking for (either by name or official number if you know it). You can simply enter "Starlink" and click "Go!" to find your personal forecast under "Sightseeing" for each satellite.
"For future observers, I would advise checking to see if Calsky of Heavens-Above is making forecasts for your location and considering a few minutes of insecurity in the pass-time," said Langbroek , "I expect them to be bright, now they are still very low, but having binoculars on hand would be a good idea Make sure your eyes are dark (ie, spend at least 125 minutes in the dark to lamplight to avoid)."  May's "train" view is unlikely to be seen until the next two nights, Langbroek said. So you want to be sure to act fast. If the satellites are visible again at night, they will spread in their final orbits and see less, "added Langobroek.
SpaceX placed the new Starlink satellites in a 174-mile (280-kilometer) orbit, but each of the 60 satellites is equipped with an ion motor to slowly lift its orbit to a height of approximately 350 km (217 miles).
Not everyone is thrilled to see SpaceX's Starlink fleet in the night sky like Langbroek did in May when he described the sight as "spectacular."
Astronomers have complained that the bright satellites could jeopardize scientific observations of the night sky, especially since SpaceX plans to launch at least 12,000 Starlink satellites for its mega-constellation, and would like to add another 30,000 satellites in the future. With other companies like Amazon, OneWeb and Telesat planning their own mega-constellations, Langbroek is also concerned.
"I have misgivings about these mega-constellations in Earth orbit, one thing is
what it will do to our night sky – on a clear summer's night there will always be one
or more satellites) almost to everyone Time is visible, "said Langbroek. "When so many are added in just a few years, the way we experience our night sky drastically changes: the old character of the night sky is basically lost."
SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites with its mostly flown Falcon 9 rocket in the orbit Nevertheless, which was launched and landed for the fourth time on 11 November 2019.
(Picture credits: SpaceX)
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, said the company is considering reducing satellite brightness. Musk and other representatives of SpaceX also emphasize that Starlink satellites are designed for a missionary life of between one and five years.
At the end of the mission of a Starlink satellite, the satellite is expected to desorb itself with its ion engine and burn in the Earth's atmosphere to avoid a space junk threat to other spacecraft.
] Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated the orbit intended for this Starlink launch. It is 217 miles (350 kilometers), not 341 miles (550 kilometers).