Croydon stargazers searching for the Starlink satellite constellations should turn off all outdoor lighting if they want to see them soar across the London night sky, according to the Chairman of the Croydon Astronomical Society (CAS).
The Starlink satellites – dubbed by astronomers as a “string of bright pearls” in the sky – are created by billionaire Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. They have been sending them up into the Earth’s orbit in batches of 60 since mid-March.
Chairman of the CAS, Tony Roberts, has been able to see the satellite clusters a couple of times and said that “on a good night the sight of a constant line of satellites is rather special. You can have at least five up at a time.” However, Tony warned that some nights it is easier to view the ‘train’ more than others, due to the sky not always being clear.
The company says the network will deliver broadband internet to areas across the world, stating on its website: “With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.”
So far, SpaceX has deployed more than 300 satellites since its creation and is aiming to eventually develop a network of 12,000 – meaning that there will be many opportunities to see them fly across our night skies.
When you can see them
When using degrees to track the cluster of satellites, 90 degrees is directly overhead, and 0 degree is the horizon.
9:26pm – Starlink 3 will make an appearance through the sky, lasting for around six minutes.
Look from the Southwest. The ‘train’ will lay low at around 10 degrees as it tracks to the East, with a peak of 30 degrees.
11:01pm – Starlink 3 will make another appearance again for around six minutes.
The satellites will track from around 10 degrees above the Western horizon to around 32 degrees above the Eastern horizon.
12:37am – Starlink 3 will pass over for around six minutes.
They will track from the West horizon, starting at around 10 degrees and taking a slightly diagonal track at around 15 degrees above the horizon.
10:01pm – Starlink 3 will pass over again, taking around six minutes.
They will run from Southwest to East.
They will start low at around 10 degrees, escalate a diagonal track of 71 degrees before laying low just above the Eastern horizon at 10 degrees.
11:37pm – Starlink 3 makes its third appearance, again for six minutes.
They will track from around 10 degrees above the Western horizon to 59 degrees above the Eastern horizon.
9:02pm – Starlink 3 will appear for around five minutes.
They will track from the horizon in the Southwest to the horizon in the East, laying low at around 10 degrees with a peak of 43 degrees.
10:38pm – Starlink 3 will appear again but for around five minutes.
Look from the West. The satellites will lay low at around 10 degrees as it tracks to the East, with a peak of around 88 degrees.
12:14am – Starlink 3 will appear for around six minutes.
They will pass over from 10 degrees above the Western horizon, making a slight diagonal track of around 35 degrees.
9:38pm – Starlink 3 will make another appearance for the evening, lasting around six minutes.
They will pass from West to East, staying relatively low at around 10 degrees with a peak of 88 degrees.