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Thread: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

  1. #1
    John Baars's Avatar
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    Default The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.



    Last night just before one o'clock I was surprised to see a satellite chain of about 45-50 satellites over my head like a train. Pure coincidence. I was quietly observing Jupiter and by chance looked up. At first I thought of space debris, but the lights were regularly divided, one behind the other, formed a long line and had a slow satellite pace. No outliers, but about four "laggards".

    After that I thought about birds, but they had to be very high for a pair of geese, moreover have an exorbitantly high albedo and then at this time with the sun more than 16 degrees below the horizon? Unlikely. I walked in and grabbed my 10X50 Jenoptem. The train lights, piece by piece of magnitude 2 or thereabouts, fitted in one field of view, measured around 7 degrees (those lagging behind half a field of view) and went from West to East. I picked up the "Polar Express" satellite train when it just left Bootes. Truly a very strange and special sight. Normally I am used to one or, at most two, but 50 ?!

    This morning I read on the internet newspaper that these were recently launched Starlink communication satellites that still had to take their position. The news mentions 60, I didn't count that much though. I wondered what a layman would have thought? Invasion of aliens?

    Very nice sight. I had some mixed feelings though when I read the number of satellites they have planned. There is almost no observing session any more without a satellite or worse, space debris, going through the telescopic(!) field at least once an evening.

    [IMG]Starlink satellite chain 25 May 2019 1.00MEZT by John Baars, on
    Flickr[/IMG]

    The bright star on the right ( West) is Arcturus. On the left (East) Izar. North is up. The train went in eastern direction.
    Telescopes in Schiedam : SW 150 F/5 Achromat, SW Evostar 120ED F/7.5, Vixen 102ED F/9, OMC140 maksutov F/14.3, SW 102MAK F/13 on Vixen GPDX.
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    Astronomical Rijswijk observatory telescopes: Astro-Physics Starfire 130 f/8 on NEQ6, 6 inch Newton on GP, C8 on NEQ6, Meade 14 inch SCT on EQ8, Lunt.
    Amateur since 1970.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    On several programs it is obvious that the train passed under Arcturus and Izar. Typical "whitness mistake".
    Telescopes in Schiedam : SW 150 F/5 Achromat, SW Evostar 120ED F/7.5, Vixen 102ED F/9, OMC140 maksutov F/14.3, SW 102MAK F/13 on Vixen GPDX.
    Binoculars: AusJena 10X50 Jenoptem, Swarovski Habicht 7X42, Celestron Skymaster 15X70, Swift Observation 20X80.
    Astronomical Rijswijk observatory telescopes: Astro-Physics Starfire 130 f/8 on NEQ6, 6 inch Newton on GP, C8 on NEQ6, Meade 14 inch SCT on EQ8, Lunt.
    Amateur since 1970.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    An amazing view John, that would have been very interesting to see!
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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    Thanks for the report John, our skies are going to get crowded!
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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    Well, a fun visual sighting. Yeah, that is going to excite a few of the unitiated when they see this invasion force coursing through the sky.
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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    Thousands of Starlink satellites may be good for internet technology, but I fear it will be a huge problem for AP's and research telescopes many of which already operate in no-fly zones and areas protected from microwave transmissions such as cell phone towers.
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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    I have already seen a picture of M57 with more than ten satellite trails in it. Luckely nowadays that image can be taken out of the series.
    Telescopes in Schiedam : SW 150 F/5 Achromat, SW Evostar 120ED F/7.5, Vixen 102ED F/9, OMC140 maksutov F/14.3, SW 102MAK F/13 on Vixen GPDX.
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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    bahaha!,nice image and report , some of us wish not to image/see the space junk train !, i could not imagine 12,000 off these , i think i would have to sell my astronomy gear if it become unbearable

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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    I was gonna say, we don't have to worry too much, india is pretty good at shooting down satellites
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    Default Re: The Polar Express of Starlink, a train of satellites.

    I don't know if you experienced it too, or maybe it comes from my imagination. It seems that last observing sessions ( the last months) I have seen more satellites going though my field of view than ever before...?
    Telescopes in Schiedam : SW 150 F/5 Achromat, SW Evostar 120ED F/7.5, Vixen 102ED F/9, OMC140 maksutov F/14.3, SW 102MAK F/13 on Vixen GPDX.
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