BAFFLED Brits were left amazed and confused as billionaire Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites lit up the night sky over the weekend.
Keen stargazers watched in wonder as a trail of lights flashed through the sky last night, at around 9.20pm.
They took to social media to speculate whether the streaks were meteor showers or even UFOs.
But the stream of lights were emitted by billionaire Musk's Starlink project.
Part of rocket company SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, California, it aims to create a constellation of thousands of low satellites to improve internet service across the globe.
Amateur photographer James Newman captured the incredible display from his London garden.
He said: “Our night skies can produce some spectacular shows, and last night was one such occasion.
“At approximately 9:22pm in the south of England, a group of satellites called Starlink trailed across the night sky over Essex.
James added: "Lots of people mistook them for UFOs but be assured these won't be beaming you up."
Brits took to Twitter to share their confusion at the incredible light display.
Steve said: “Anybody know what the long chain of satellites going through the British sky right now are? Must be 50 of them so far?”
Lewis Barry commented: “I know there's some meteor shower, but what is this?”
Lewis was referring to the Lyrid Meteor Shower which is expected to be visible on Tuesday night.
Stu Chalk asked: “What the hell is going on? A straight line of satellites – over 20 so far – all equally spaced out?”
What is Starlink?
Here's what you need to know about Elon Musk's satellites…
- Starlink is a satellite project led by billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
- Musk intends to put 12,000 satellites into the Earth's orbit so they can provide cheap WiFi to the whole world
- SpaceX also intends to sell satellites for military, scientific and exploratory purposes
- 60 of the Starlink satellites have been sent up to Space so far
- The satellites are being launched on top of unmanned Falcon 9 rockets
- How they will affect the night sky is causing concern as they look brighter than expected
- It will take at least 12 trips to take all of the satellites into Space and they will be staggered at different heights above the Earth
Al Iguana commented: “Just went out in the garden, to take in the stars, and saw six ‘satellites’, in a row, a fairly equal distance apart, moving north.
“Wasn't planes, cos a blinky light jumbo flew under them, and it was lower and slower.
“Wasn't meteors, cos they dont' travel in a convoy … #UFOs.”
Starlink is a project that intends to put 12,000 satellites into the Earth's orbit so they can provide cheap WiFi to the entire world.
SpaceX sends them up in batches of 60 at a time and has so far deployed 362 into orbit.
The Starlink programme is controversial amongst astrologers, who have slammed the tech billionaire.
They say the satellites get in the way of observations and stop them from viewing the night sky due to the light.
However, Musk claims the trains of satellites will have no such impact.
Speaking at a conference in Washington DC last month, he said: "I am confident that we will not cause any impact whatsoever in astronomical discoveries. Zero. That’s my prediction.
"We’ll take corrective action if it’s above zero."
If Brits missed the incredible light show, they have another chance to see the satellites tonight/on Monday night at around 10pm.
Last October, it was revealed that SpaceX wants to add 30,000 Starlink broadband satellites to the 12,000 it already plans to put into orbit.
The recent request for permission could take seven years to get clearances before the specified satellites are launched.
SpaceX wouldn't have to launch all 30,000 satellites but filing for them now could stop other satellite operators going after the same slots.
In other news, Nasa astronauts will launch into space from US soil next month for the first time in nearly a decade.
An amazing SpaceX video recently revealed how the company will one day fire astronauts to the ISS.
SpaceX apparently wants the US Army to use the 18,000 mile-an-hour spacecraft to transport troops & supplies across the planet in "minutes".
What do you think of Musk's satellite plan? Let us know in the comments!
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