July 13, 2024

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Starlink space display ‘set to continue all week’

Starlink satellite chainImage copyright
EPA/Peter Komka Hungary Out

Image caption

Long-exposure images were used to produce this shot of the satellites passing over Hungary

The spectacle of satellites passing over the UK in what looks like a chain of lights should be visible for the rest of the week, space experts say.

The 60 Starlink satellites launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm appear in a line crossing the night sky.

They were launched into space in March but their current orbital position has made them easier to see in recent days.

Stargazers have been using apps and websites to check when they can spot the display.

SpaceX has sent 300 satellites into space so far towards a planned network of 12,000, with the aim of improving global internet coverage.

They have been taken up in batches of 60, with the most recent launch in mid-March.

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Media captionA time-lapse of Starlink satellites taken from the Peak District in December

The most recent line of satellites has been spotted in Derbyshire, Manchester, London, Leeds and across Europe, with many people sharing their excitement on social media.

The National Space Centre in Leicester said each batch was deployed to an orbit about 180 miles above Earth and had moved to about 340 miles away.

Sophie Allan, from the centre, said current good visibility was down to a combination of the batch’s low orbit, clear night skies and the angle of the satellites in relation to the sun.

She said she expected this to continue for at least another five days.

Several websites and apps allow people to track the current locations of the satellites, with the next UK display expected shortly before 22:00 BST on Monday.

However, the project has been criticised by some astronomers who have branded the space technology an eyesore.

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