UKH

Starlink - they're back

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For those that enjoyed the Starlink satellites, they're back again!

There is a pass starting about 21:20 on Sunday 19th April, then similar times in subsequent days.

Just look south and see them passing through Leo.

These ones are from the 18th March 2020 launch. There is another launch planned this week I believe.

Enjoy!

1
 Dave Todd 19 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

Just been watching them - they're great!  First time I've seen them.

 gravy 19 Apr 2020
In reply to Dave Todd:

I enjoy stars but recoil at space junk

3
 petemeads 19 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

A brilliant pass, and possibly even better tomorrow. 11 in a row at one point tonight.

 Martin Hore 19 Apr 2020
In reply to gravy:

> I enjoy stars but recoil at space junk

"I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them but they were only satellites
It's wrong to wish on space hardware
I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care"

1
 Señor Último 19 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

Nice one!

Would have been North if viewer south of The Wash for tonight’s pass, not sure about next few nights. 

 wintertree 19 Apr 2020
In reply to gravy:

> I enjoy stars but recoil at space junk

I bet you like having internet access everywhere you go though...

In terms of spoiling the night sky, terrestrial light pollution from badly designed street lights has almost infinitely more detrimental effect than Starlink.

6
 Tom Valentine 19 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Even so, if you look through a scope or binoculars pointed in the same direction for as little as 5 minutes you are almost bound to have a satellite cross your field of view. It's not a problem (unless you're imaging) but it is an indicator of how much stuff is up there.

1
 aln 20 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> almost infinitely more detrimental effect

I laughed forever when I read that

1
 wintertree 20 Apr 2020
In reply to aln:

> I laughed forever when I read that

Not sure why - light pollution is a problem for most armature astrophotographers and is a factor in the location of big observatories.  Light pollution is why most kids in Britain never see the milk way and why urban kids barely see a dozen stars, not Starlink.  

1
 cb294 20 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Astronomers already place observatories outside of light polluted area, and some have become pretty much unusable, but you cannot escape space junk. I find those fleets of private satellites completely inacceptable.

CB

 wintertree 20 Apr 2020
In reply to cb294:

> Astronomers already place observatories outside of light polluted area,

Like I said it’s a factor in their location.

> and some have become pretty much unusable

No. There’s been a lot of whining from a subset of the community after the first launch that they weren’t consulted on something that had been openly planned and through legal permitting - with a lot of press - over several years.  Very few observations can’t be scheduled around Starlink and for the all sky stuff that is affected there are software fixes that it degrades a small fraction of their data or hardware fixes that make the problem go away.

> but you cannot escape space junk. I find those fleets of private satellites completely inacceptable.

They’ll get much less visible as they settle into their final orbits, and either the business will fold and they’ll come down, or the business will boom, they’ll come down and get replaced with darker birds - 5 year lifespan.  Darkening work is already going on.

The astronomy community whining is out of proportion and in stark contrast to their failure to engage with the objections to further development at Mauna Kea - to important to consult outwards, soo important to demand consultation inwards after they sleepwalked through the whole process.  Ugly.

Post edited at 08:38
 gravy 20 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

While I agree that sodium based and badly designed street lights do muck up the night sky and this is a cause of much upset for me I can see that there is a good reason why this is so.

Sticking shiny space junk in the sky like this is just a vanity exercise.  I've no problem about discrete, functional and exploratory space craft but this is like leaving a macdonalds happy meal packet in Antarctica. Next thing you know some dickhead will be using space as a scarp yard for old cars.

1
 Graeme G 20 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

Went out as per findstarlink.com’s advice re time but didn’t see them. Will try again tonight.

Thanks for the heads up though.

 DaveHK 20 Apr 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

> "I saw two shooting stars last night

> I wished on them but they were only satellites

> It's wrong to wish on space hardware

> I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care"

Possibly my favourite lyric ever that.

 wintertree 20 Apr 2020
In reply to gravy:

> While I agree that sodium based and badly designed street lights do muck up the night sky

Sodium light isn't so bad as it can be nocked out with a carefully designed filter; LED streetlight lights are broadband.

> Sticking shiny space junk in the sky like this is just a vanity exercise. 

Well then it'll go bust in no time, they'll fall from orbit and you can stop worrying.

Alternatively there is a strong business case for them, not least in vast swathes of the world without the internet access that's suddenly front and centre of all of our lives.  

> I've no problem about discrete, functional and exploratory space craft but this is like leaving a macdonalds happy meal packet in Antarctica.

You do realise most of the satellites in orbit are commercial and not exploratory?  They're also not discreet and you can see dozens in half an hour of sky watching.  Many of them are far more visible than Starlink birds end up once they've raised orbit and phase out around their orbits.

> Next thing you know some dickhead will be using space as a scarp yard for old cars.

You're not bringing any emotional baggage to this discussion at least.

Post edited at 09:18
1
 scoth 20 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

I’ve vaguely heard about this, so needed to look up star link.  Apparently there’s going to be 12000 of them. 

It’s going to be different experience when looking up in wonder at the Pleiades or Andromeda  on a dark crisp mountain evening, when all of a sudden an Elon Musk ego train comes barrelling across the sky.

And I think it all seems for the sole reason of having faster and increased internet coverage, to give us more elaborate pop up adverts and driverless cars on the Tibetan plateau....😢

3
 Ridge 20 Apr 2020
In reply to phizz4:

That is a really neat link, especially where it shows the positions relative to the view from your house.

 jkarran 20 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

I remember as a boy spending nights out under the stars being astonished to see one or two satellites in a whole summer night. We went out in the garden last night for 15min to look for meteors ans spotted maybe a dozen satellites (no meteors), it's got realy busy up there! Also something very bright and orange and twinkly NE, maybe 45deg elevation, 10pm, Venus I guess.

jk

Post edited at 10:00
 gravy 20 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

That's the point it is entirely about emotional baggage about space as a pristine wilderness to be used to the good of humanity not as an advertising bill-board -junk like this offends my sensibilities.  I like the romance and sense of awe at looking at the stars, I take offence at being interrupted in my dreams by a billboard.

2
 Tom Valentine 20 Apr 2020
In reply to gravy:

> Next thing you know some dickhead will be using space as a scarp yard for old cars.

He's already started -or was that what you meant?

1
 wintertree 20 Apr 2020
In reply to gravy:

> pristine wilderness to be used to the good of humanity not as an advertising bill-board -junk like this offends my sensibilities. 

It really isn’t pristine now. It is littered with thousands of abandoned junk items.  Starlink junks almost nothing and leaves nothing in orbit long term.  It’s not a bill board, it’s comms; space is full of comms already.  How would your lockdown be without internet?  

I don’t think it’ll spoil the view from Earth.  The pristine night sky is already full of naked eye visible satellite as jk and I have noted.

 Graeme G 20 Apr 2020
In reply to Ridge:

Thanks for sharing.

 wintertree 20 Apr 2020
In reply to Ridge:

> That is a really neat link, especially where it shows the positions relative to the view from your house.

The integration there is fantastic.  

 cb294 20 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Sorry, seems I was unclear. I meant several observatories, especially in California, becoming unusable for many types of research due to light pollution from cities.

CB

 petemeads 20 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

The current starlink satellites are pretty bright, magnitude 1.7, but at 550km final orbit they are much fainter, and much more spread out, so they have become relatively difficult to see even knowing exactly what time they are due to pass between Castor and Pollux, for example, so I don't think they are going to ruin the night sky. Plus, satellites are only visible at all for a couple of hours after sunset - after that they are in the Earth's shadow (and the same before sunrise, of course) - which makes long winter nights the best time for making astronomical observations. Interestingly, Musk has permission to fly lower and higher orbits as the Starlink system matures - he has 6 years to get 50% of his planned hardware into space and 9 years to complete, or get accused of hogging the operating frequencies he has nominated...

 nufkin 20 Apr 2020
In reply to gravy:

>  I like the romance and sense of awe at looking at the stars, I take offence at being interrupted in my dreams by a billboard.

I was really chuffed when I first saw a flare from one of the Iridium satellites. The confluence of its position, my position and the angle of the sunlight all coming together for a fleeting moment was really amazing, I thought, amid the hugeness of the universe. Stars are amazing too, of course, but they're there all the time. I gather most of the Iridium satellites have 'de-orbited' now, which seems a bit of a shame

 Tom Valentine 20 Apr 2020
In reply to nufkin:

Actually I find ordinary stars lacking in interest unless they are doubles. I spend a lot more time searching for Deep Space Objects and am slowly working my way through the Messier catalogue (puerile ticking in the heavens). I missed Starlink last night but managed to find M57 the Ring Nebula as consolation. 

In reply to Tom Valentine:

Viewing or photographing? I enjoy photographing the nebulae but find them too dim for visual interest with my modest slow F10 telescope hence photographing. Check out some of Andi Turner's images who occasionally posts here, they are superb.

I was going for wide angle shots something within Leo or Virgo but realised that the satellites might spoil that. It's not normally the satellites that ruin my wide angle pictures but planes with their bright flashing lights. At least they've mostly gone quiet now.

The transient nature of the satellites make a little change from the hours of the camera slowly rotating across the sky. For the counter point to that, try photographing some geostationary satellites and let the stars move.

 Dave Cundy 20 Apr 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

Billy Bragg!   Was it Spy vs Spy?  I went to university with a mate of his (whose claim to fame was that he took BB to his first John Otway concert).  I've still got a BB compilation cassette that i made, circa 1987).  His first few albums were excellent.

 Tom Valentine 20 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

Viewing.

As  a newcomer i find it odd that a lot of people's experience of an astronomical phenomenon is limited to an image created by stacking together a load of photos of an object they are physically unable to see. 

However dim the "faint fuzzies "are , I get an immense thrill from tracking them down, basic  starhopping  set up and no reliance on sat nav.

Just upgraded from an ST80 to anST120  ( f5 and very bright)but I've kept the basic alt-azi mount so most imaging would be beyond me anyway.

 Martin Hore 20 Apr 2020
In reply to Dave Cundy:

> Billy Bragg!   Was it Spy vs Spy?  I went to university with a mate of his (whose claim to fame was that he took BB to his first John Otway concert).  I've still got a BB compilation cassette that i made, circa 1987).  His first few albums were excellent.


The lyrics are from "A New England". I'm more familiar with the Kirsty MacColl version which was quite a big hit, but yes it's a Billy Bragg song. Just looked it up and it was on Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy.

I always thought those lyrics were rather special and was instantly reminded of them by gravy's post.

Martin. 

 krikoman 20 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

Saw 14 satellites tonight and 2 shooting stars

 Tim Sparrow 21 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

“A shame it takes a load of aerial WiFi routers to get people excited about the night sky.”

I am concerned about how this project will affect our views of the night sky and my astrophotography hobby in particular. It’s manageable now, maybe just a few sub exposures lost in an imaging session but as more and more of these satellites fill the night sky ...

 Mark Savage 21 Apr 2020
In reply to nufkin:

I enjoyed watching the Iridium flares that happened during the day. You'd get an idea of where to look and obviously you couldn't see the satellite approaching, but then it would flare and it would be bright enough to see in the daytime sky.

In reply to wintertree:

I'm not against satellites but your argument that there is plenty of stuff up there so a bit more is fine is about the worst one you can make: "I'll drop this litter/pollute the ocean because someone else already has" Please don't use that justification again.

1
 wintertree 21 Apr 2020
In reply to krikoman:

We saw 13 Starlink satellites, 15 other satellites, something that flared bright like the ISS does and one tumbling satellite or booster that faded and flared 5 times. 

Turns out it’s go really busy up there.

In reply to wintertree:

So if there are 12,000 of them and they have a lifespan of 5 years. What is the environmental cost of the continual launch programme for these things.

 wintertree 21 Apr 2020
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> I'm not against satellites but your argument that there is plenty of stuff up there so a bit more is fine is about the worst one you can make: "I'll drop this litter/pollute the ocean because someone else already has" Please don't use that justification again.

I strongly disagree.  

Litter is a careless, selfish act with only losers. Space, or specifically low earth orbit, is not a “pristine wilderness”, it’s chock full of hardware doing useful things for humanity.   That’s the crux with Starlink - once in orbit it’s going to have minimal effect on the naked eye view, so useful things for hundreds of millions of people, barely affect astronomy and affect astrophotography more.  

There is an argument to be had but it doesn’t involve wildly inaccurate sentient about “pristine wilderness”.  The oceans and orbits are littered with spent rockets, toxic materials and radioactive goop from 60 years of space.  

2
 wintertree 21 Apr 2020
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> So if there are 12,000 of them and they have a lifespan of 5 years. What is the environmental cost of the continual launch programme for these things.

Not a lot - each launch is about one transatlantic flight’s worth of kerosene.  That works out at about 3 flights per month equivalent.  The main booster and the fairings are recovered and reused repeatedly.  It’s the greenest launch for kg in all history I suspect.  Soon they’ll be moving to a cleaner, fully reusable launcher. 

A more pertinent question is “what is the environmental cost of the terrestrial systems people will access through them” but I suspect you don’t ask that question of your ADSL modem either...

 The Lemming 21 Apr 2020
 Tom Valentine 21 Apr 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

try to incorporate them into one of your strartrail photos.

When I took  ISS on a 2 minute exposure i was very surprised to see it drew a straight line across the image:  for some reason I expected a shallow arc.

Post edited at 17:45
 gravy 22 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

The problem with you is you're really deeply convinced by yourself and can't find the space in your heart to understand the other point of view.  Space is a romantic idea for many of us. 

Sure we can accept there is necessity in satellite and we know there is romance in exploration but gaudy showy bollocks like this is soulless and as romantic as the next burger barn. 

I dunno, but you strike me as someone who'd go to Yosemite and spend more time looking at a drone looking at half dome that looking at halfdome, of going to the beach and thinking the jetskis were cool rather than spoiling the ambience, of standing on the top and thinking about the angle of your go-pro than looking at the view.  Your argument that, "space is no longer pristine so f*ck it", is offensive. You misunderstand the significance of intent and meaning with the kilos of matter. The historic junk is deeply symbolic of planet shaping ideas, of exploration, of the cold war, of worrying the world was going to end, of the limits of the imagination, of idea, but you're impressed with the cheap glitz of show offery rather than the magnificent spectacle beyond and the idealism, romance and beauty that it entails.

Mainly, I think it is rather sad that you're more excited by this than the show beyond.

5
 wintertree 22 Apr 2020
In reply to gravy:

> The problem with you is you're really deeply convinced by yourself and can't find the space in your heart to understand the other point of view.  Space is a romantic idea for many of us. 

Totally wrong.  I understand the other point of view but i think as directed to Starlink it’s nothing but manufactured outrage, especially pissy comments like the one about used cars.

I saw more non-Starlink satellites than Starlink ones last night - the Starlink ones will fade as they go to their final orbit but the non Starlink ones won’t.  

So where’s the rage against all the other satellites that remain visible?  Where’s the rage against the far greater number of aircraft whose navigation lights spoil the skies and astrophotography?  

> Sure we can accept there is necessity in satellite and we know there is romance in exploration but gaudy showy bollocks like this is soulless and as romantic as the next burger barn. 

You accuse me of being deeply convinced and unable to understand another point of view and then use “gaudy showy bollocks” to describe something that is going to give hundreds of millions of people access to the internet that you take totally for granted.
 

> I dunno, but you strike me as someone who'd go to Yosemite and spend more time looking at a drone looking at half dome that looking at halfdome,

Maybe you should stop slagging off someone you don’t know with made up and totally incorrect assumptions and try and engage with their argument?

> of going to the beach and thinking the jetskis were cool rather than spoiling the ambience, of standing on the top and thinking about the angle of your go-pro than looking at the view.

You’re so far off here it’s amusing.  Are you trying to be offensive or does it come naturally?  Still easier to attack me than my points I suppose.

> Your argument that, "space is no longer pristine so f*ck it", is offensive.

Why?  It’s not pristine.  These satellites won’t ever “litter” it, their launchers don’t litter the oceans. It’s the greenest launch ever.

> You misunderstand the significance of intent and meaning with the kilos of matter.

Oh, right.

> The historic junk is deeply symbolic of planet shaping ideas, of exploration, of the cold war, of worrying the world was going to end, of the limits of the imagination, of idea,

Right.  So it’s okay to leave a dozen highly radioactive fission cores in orbit to decay onto the planet one day about 600 years hence because it was symbolic of a time people were planning to kill each other by the billions?  Have you thought your view through at all?  A lot more of it isn’t very historic junk, it’s junk from dozens of Seattle items beaming Fox and Sky and their like into millions of households across the globe, of other constellations also bringing telecoms to distant parts, of many other things rooted in business and not romanticism.

> but you're impressed with the cheap glitz of show offery

I really do think you should step away from the keyboard.  I’m impressed by the cheapest, most economical launches ever by a factor of many, and by where the money raised is going - directly into mars colonisation efforts.  That’s the plan for the profit from this.  The first fully reusable launcher running off clean fuels that leaves no litter, than can take 100 people into orbit, that’s a significant part of unlocking the moon and beyond, that turns space from a playground of government and big business into something accessible to far more people.  

> rather than the magnificent spectacle beyond and the idealism, romance and beauty that it entails.

Isn't developing cheaper, cleaner, greener, more reusable access to space the best possible thing for getting people into the romance of space?  Our children could very well go there in 30 years.

> Mainly, I think it is rather sad that you're more excited by this than the show beyond. 

This is a key part of funding the way that people get onto that road instead of just looking at it.

I think you are making a lot of assumptions about me.  I’ve spent about 9 weeks of my life living and working 20 hour days at facility class, remote, mountain top observatories.  I spent a lot more of my life preparing for those trips.  I’ve looked at a star by eye through a 4 meter telescope, and I try and look at the night sky every clear night.  I’ve never owned or used a jet ski - I prefer cold water sea swimming without a wet suit, and I’ve walked in Yosemite sometimes without even a digital camera let alone a drone.

If you want to make any more unbounded and totally unfounded personal attacks on me rather than engage with the points I’ve raised go ahead.  

Meanwhile you couldn’t be more wrong equating Starlink to littering.  It’s the least littering constellation launch ever as it’s the first not to drop all the spent boosters into the oceans.  It’s not showy glitz, it’s a sound business case and it will I suspect change far more lives for the better than your or I ever could.  

How have you gone to half dome?  Did you fly?  I gave up flying 7 years ago and so may never see Yosemite in person again.  I’ve been enjoying the peaceful skies these last few weeks yet I’m not going to launch into some unhinged personal attack on you about you flying, trashing the environment and spoiling my peace and quiet.  I’m not going to make totally wrong assumptions on your character because you have a different opinion to me.  I’m not going to say “the problem with you is...”.

Post edited at 00:37
In reply to richard_hopkins:

There are another 60 satellites planned for launch tonight, Thursday 22nd. I believe the scheduled launch time is just after 20:30.

Here is a youtube livestream, which you can either watch or throw things at depending on your feelings about these satellites!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSge0I7pwFI&feature=emb_title

Post edited at 19:14
 Tom Valentine 22 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

Just gone over, could see it through my 6x30s, chucking the little beggars out like confetti.

Post edited at 20:57
In reply to Tom Valentine:

For all the hate going out, one can't help but admire the amazing engineering behind these things. Mr Musk has totally turned the launch industry on its head. And I say that from someone in the industry that doesn't work for SpaceX

(Even though one of his earlier lunches did destroy the satellite we made loads of hardware for...)

 wintertree 22 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

> Mr Musk has totally turned the launch industry on its head

A few months ago I went to the pub with the retired USAF general who was lead on the air force’s commission of the McDonnell Douglas DC-X.  When you look back at Apollo and then that, you have to wonder what could have happened if the Americans hadn’t gone all out on STS.

Post edited at 22:05
 duchessofmalfi 22 Apr 2020
In reply to wintertree:

What is it with you musk fanboys? there's genuine natural space phenomena going on tonight and you want to stay in to admire Elon Musk and his space adverts?

3
 wintertree 22 Apr 2020
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

> What is it with you musk fanboys? there's genuine natural space phenomena going on tonight and you want to stay in to admire Elon Musk and his space adverts?

1.  You may note I didn’t talk about Elon Musk it SpaceX at all in the message you replied to.

2. There is a hell of a lot more to SpaceX than just one man you know.  Gwynn Shotwell comes across as an incredibly competent and capable leader, and I hear that may have another 7,000 or so employees

3.  How is a global internet constellation a “space advert”?  Every time you drive by a telephone pole do you rage about Jan Petrus du Plessé and his sky adverts?   Mobile phone masts must cause apoplexy. 

4. What’s so weird about wanting to watch a space launch (I’m actually doing the washing up...)?  Especially one where really cool stuff happens like the normally thrown away £50m piece of kit landing vertically like god and Robert Heinlein intended?  

5. If I’m a fan of anyone at SpaceX it’s John Insprucker and his amazing narration.

Edit; 6.  Oooo a dislike - why aren’t you out watching genuine natural space phenomena instead of clicking pointless buttons?

Post edited at 22:19
1
 Tom Valentine 22 Apr 2020
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

Tonight's spectacle, one of spacecraft crossing the sky dispatching tiny points of light from all sides, is something i will never forget. I think the fact that I'd just watched the launch and successful return of Stage One might have made me feel some sort of connection.

I saw a couple of meteors last night and thy were unremarkable and forgettable, unlike the big storm of '89. If i wanted to watch meteors I'd wait till August and get my money's worth.

Post edited at 23:08
 Señor Último 22 Apr 2020
In reply to richard_hopkins:

Not sure what all the fuss is about. Judging by my last three night’s experience, they're Basically impossible to see  


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