MYSTERY WIRE (Las Vegas, NV) — From Las Vegas to Los Angeles last night, people were looking up and seeing a strange string of lights moving quickly across the sky.
It turns out it was caused by the same thing that’s caused millions of people around the world to think they are seeing something from another world coming to Earth.
The real answer to what it was is much less dramatic. The “lights” in the sky were SpaceX Starlink satellites launched and placed into orbit to provide internet to underserved areas. The light is actually reflected light off of the small satellites just after sunset.
The satellites are launched and deployed in batches of 60. It takes several weeks for them to spread out, it’s during this time when the reflection can look like a string of lights.
You can find out if you can see the satellites by using this tracking site.
Even though people are still reporting seeing the bright lights crossing the night sky, the lights used to be much brighter.
By the end of 2019, many sky watchers were noticing a strange phenomenon happening in the night sky.
One year ago, Mystery Wire reported an unforeseen effect of this many objects in low Earth orbit was the reflection from the sun during orbit raise. Elon Musk has said SpaceX was working on a way to fix this light pollution issue.
One way is a sun shade on the solar reflectors, something that will already be in place on future launches. Musk has said the sun shades will be made of a dark foam material that should not affect radio transmissions. SpaceX decided to go with less reflective coating on the satellites, but people are still seeing them in the night sky.
“I was in the backyard with the family relaxing, and then we looked up into the night sky, and the lights appeared,” Rick Detisch III told Las Vegas TV station KLAS.
“It was a big straight line, looked about an inch apart, maybe 20 or 30 lights … I don’t know what we know, but I know what I saw. I call tell you that,” he recalled.
Check out different perspectives of the sight below!
Here’s the view from California: