PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) — A string of lights high in the Pennsylvania skies is giving people some “X-Files” feelings, but rest assured, it’s not aliens — Sorry Agent Mulder.
The lights have been spotted all over Pennsylvania this Labor Day weekend, starting with a bright sighting on Friday night, Sept. 1. But if they aren’t U.F.O.s then what could it be?
The answer lies with Elon Musk. That’s right, it’s the Starlink satellites.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is the largest satellite constellation. It uses a low Earth orbit (342 miles above Earth) to deliver broadband internet that’s capable of streaming, online gaming, video calls and more.
It was first launched in May 2019 with a batch of 60 satellites. On Sept. 1, they launched 22 more, bringing the total number of Starlink satellites launched to more than 5,000.
According to Space.com, there are more than 4,500 operational Starlink satellites in orbit and they reportedly have an operational life span of about five years.
When can I see Starlink?
The Starlink satellites aren’t hard to see when they’re crossing the night sky, but with an ever-changing orbit, they may be hard to spot to begin with.
According to FindStarlink.com, they may show up over Pennsylvania before bedtime, or before the crack of dawn (4 a.m. to 6 a.m.) but will mostly only appear for a few short minutes.
If you want to know when to look up, you can put in your location and find dates and times to spot the bright satellites by clicking here.
In February, Musk lost 40 Starlink satellites after being struck by a geomagnetic storm. The affected satellites fell back to Earth.
Earlier this year, GeekWire looked into concerns about Starlink — and numerous other satellites — causing issues with astronomical observances, such as with the Hubble telescope and with spotting NEAs (Near Earth Asteroids)