(NEXSTAR) – Have you noticed a line of lights traveling through the night sky recently? No, it (likely) wasn’t aliens. Instead, it was (more likely) SpaceX Starlink satellites.
Starlink satellites, first launched in 2019, are used to provide broadband internet to customers around the globe. Following multiple launches of additional satellites each year, SpaceX has roughly 2,000 now orbiting Earth.
Roughly 40 of them recently fell out of orbit after being caught in a geomagnetic storm.
But those that remain in orbit can be tracked by those of us on the ground. There are a few online resources that allow you to find out when you can see Starlink satellites parade across the sky.
First, it’s important to note that when you see a line of satellites, they won’t stay like that forever. They’ll eventually separate to find their own orbits. Because the chains travel so quickly, you may even have the chance to have multiple sightings in one night.
Here are three sites that let you see if satellites will be near you anytime soon.
One is Find Starlink, available both as a website and a mobile app. You can track nearby satellite chains in one of three ways.
First, you can search your location. Major cities are available, so if your hometown doesn’t show up, try a nearby metro. You can also enter your coordinates under the “By Coordinates” tab. If you’d rather view where the satellites are in general, there’s also a “Live Map” tab for that.
If you search by city name or coordinates, you’ll be taken to a results page. Here you will find dates and times when you may have good, average, or poor visibility of a Starlink parade. According to the developer, Find Starlink tracks only the first satellite in every chain, otherwise “the results page will be very cluttered.”
This site uses a Google Earth-like globe to display where Starlink satellites and chains are in orbit. You can click on each satellite to see its recent path, when it was launched, its altitude, and more. If you add a home location on the map, the site will calculate if and when a specific satellite will pass over you.
There is also this website, created by James Darpinian, a graphics and computer vision engineer with Google. On Darpinian’s site, you can allow the browser to access your location. By doing so, you’ll see a pin drop on a map on the left of your screen. On the right, you’ll see a video showing the sky at your location.
Within the video (which appears to be Google Map’s Streetview option, but pointed skyward), you can view the constellations currently visible and the path of the nearest Starlink satellites. You can toggle between different viewing times and schedule a reminder for yourselves to go outside and look for the Starlink satellites.
None of these sites claim to be affiliated with SpaceX, Starlink, or Elon Musk. They also don’t claim to be completely accurate.
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