(NEXSTAR) – Have you recently noticed a line of lights traveling across the night sky? No, these (probably) were not aliens. Instead (more likely) these were SpaceX Starlink satellites.
Starlink The satellites, first launched in 2019, are used to provide broadband internet to customers around the world. After several launches of additional satellites each year in SpaceX, there are now about 2,000 in Earth orbit.
Recently, about 40 of them fell out of orbit after being caught in a geomagnetic storm.
But those that remain in orbit can be tracked on the ground. There are several online resources that let you know if you can see Starlink satellites passing through the sky.
First, it’s important to note that if you see a line of satellites, they won’t stay that way forever. They eventually split up to find their own orbits. Because the chains move so fast, you may even be able to watch several times in one night.
Here are three sites to see if there will be satellites near you soon.
One of them is Find Starlink, available both as a website and as a mobile application. You can track nearby satellite chains in one of three ways.
First, you can search for your location. Big cities are available, so if your hometown isn’t, try the nearest subway. You can also enter your coordinates on the “Coordinates” tab. If you want to see where the satellites are in general, there is also a tab “Live Map”.
If you search by city name or coordinates, you will be taken to the results page. Here you will find dates and times when you may have good, average or poor visibility of Starlink advice. According to developerFind Starlink only tracks the first satellite in each chain, otherwise the “results page will be very cluttered”.
This site uses a globe similar to Google Earth to show where Starlink satellites and chains are in orbit. You can click on each satellite to see its last path when it was launched, its altitude and more. If you add the location of the house on the map, the site will calculate when and when a particular satellite will pass over you.
There is such a thing website, created by James Darpinian, a graphics and computer vision engineer with Google. On the Darpinian website you can allow the browser to access your location. You will see a pin on the map on the left of the screen. On the right you will see a video showing the sky in your place.
In the video (which seems to be a Streetview Google Map option, but aimed at the sky), you can view the visible constellations and the path of nearby Starlink satellites. You can switch between different viewing times and schedule a reminder for yourself to go outside and search for Starlink satellites.
None of these sites claim to be affiliated with SpaceX, Starlink or Ilona Mask. They also do not claim to be completely accurate.