Did you happen to catch a line of lights in the sky over the Valley Sunday evening? Many viewers sent us photos after noticing a sting of moving lights in the sky. No, E.T. didn’t do a flyover looking for Reese’s Pieces — The culprit is a satellite launch.
What caused the string of lights over the Youngstown area?
The company SpaceX has been launching satellites into low-Earth orbit the last few years as part of their Starlink mission. Starlink is a satellite-based high-speed internet service that is owned and operated by SpaceX. According to the Starlink website, the service is intended to bring high-speed internet to rural and remote locations.
The satellites released can take a couple of days before they reach their locations. During that time, they appear as a line of lights in the sky as they begin orbiting Earth and climbing to a higher orbit location. SpaceX now has over 2,000 satellites orbiting the Earth.
When was the launch of Starlink satellites seen Sunday evening in the Youngstown area?
The satellite launch took place early Sunday morning, Feb. 12. The launch time was shortly after 12 a.m. SpaceX launched 55 satellites into low-Earth orbit as part of the company’s Starlink mission. This is a link to SpaceX’s twitter feed showing the early morning launch.
Jay Reynolds is a research astronomer at Cleveland State and he explained one reason why many of you saw it.
“These were unusually bright because of their relationship, right around the 7 o’clock hour, the sunlight was hitting them at the right angle,” Reynolds said. “So a wide area of northeastern Ohio was about to see these quite well.”
Reynolds said they were mostly launched from Florida.
How to see Spacex Starlink satellites in the sky
SpaceX doesn’t provide a tracker on their site but there are several websites that offer viewing times by location. A previous WKBN article from around one year ago lists some of the resources to help you spot SpaceX Starlink satellites.
Jacob Thompson contributed to this report.