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Starlink satellite-train visible with the naked eye (twitter.com)
78 points by sagitariusrex 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments



Looks a lot like the cloud ark from Neil Stevenson’s hard science fiction book ”Seveneves”.

The long of the short of it is that moon goes boom, kills life on earth, humanity survives onboard the ISS and a flurry of small habitation pods which are splayed out into a string so they share an orbit, but isolated in case they get hit by space debris.

The book came out in 2015, and despite having a fictional plot, nearly all of the science checks out.


that novel was amazing. I loved the 5000 year jump too. Although I found it difficult to visualize some of the futuristic parts. I think a movie is being made based on the novel.


Interesting, I loved the book until the jump, after that I found it to be too ridiculous. The submarine storyline was absurd.


I mainly loved the various cultural aspects, differences after the jump. The Red vs the rest. The Red had a Soviet/Chinese vibe.


I’m a bit nervous about the movie, unless they pull a Deathly Hallows and split it into two films. The audio book is 32 hours long. That’s a lot to pack into a ~2 hour movie.

But that’s a pretty big risk to do with a single novel. Harry Potter had a massive and loyal fan base by the time the 7th and 8th movies came out.


I am not so sure about the movie either. Would have loved James Cameron working on it. And yeah,it should be split in 2. The 5000 year jump should be in a separate part.


Imagine all the people who have never heard about SpaceX that see these. They will think the aliens have arrived :)




Counted 52 spots, plus an additional 2 which only appeared briefly and dimly, a little off the track of the others. 4 or 5 dots seem to be pairs. So that acounts for pretty much all satellites. I'd like to experience this for myself. With 12000 of them the sky will be quite littered with them though. Astronomy will never be the same again.


You can only see LEO satellites near dawn and dusk. They are in shadow most of the time at night.


That doesn't make it better imo, though someone commented under my other response to this that in reality it wouldn't be so noticeable which is good. The moment it makes a noticeable and lingering change in the sky picture, however, I would hope people accept that it would be time to reduce the clutter


This has been the case since the dawn of spaceflight. Iridium flares in particular have been noticeable even in daytime.

Far less of a problem than airplane lights let alone city lights for the enjoyment of the night sky. The ISS is MUCH larger and brighter.


This is tired logic. The fact remains that if I go out and look up in the sky and see moving lights, I'm going to be annoyed. Airplane, satellite, whatever, it's not a good experience and it is absolutely a problem still regardless of the comparison to other problems. However someone said it would be rare. As long as I don't look up and see non-natural moving lights in the sky I'm cool with it.


Why do moving lights in the sky irritate you?


Lots of people enjoy Iridium flares or ISS passes. Have satellites bothered you in the past? You’ve got to really be awed by NIMBYism extending all the way into space.


Why? I enjoy seeing satellites and airplane lights at night. Dislike light pollution from city lights though.


>I’d like to experience this for myself.

Find out when the satellites pass over you!

Here's the TLE data that someone estimated: http://www.satobs.org/seesat/May-2019/0207.html

Here's an online calculator: https://www.satellite-calculations.com/TLETracker/SatTracker...

Plug in the TLE data, select your town or enter your coordinates, and generate a 24 hour projection! Find a time where the elevation is higher than 10 or 20 degrees so that you can actually see it.


If it helps, I automated those steps into a simple tracker form: http://me.cmdr2.org/starlink/ will let you find when Starlink will pass over your selected city.

This is using the exact same approach that many redditors said worked for them, but does the data-crunching for you. It's a modified version of the tool you linked to (Jen Satre's excellent satellite calculator), and hardcodes the Starlink data.


Is there a map out there showing their current position? Tried n2yo.com, but as fas as I know it isn't catalogged yet.


No there isn't, but I saw this tool on Twitter that you can plug TLE data into: https://www2.flightclub.io/dashboard


Here is another video: https://vimeo.com/338361997


Like morse code trying to tell us something.


Good info on starlink: https://wyliodrin.com/post/starlink-the-internet-of-space

6 months ago, so not accurate about the height.


I respect and admire the risks Musk is willing to take and am amazed that he is able to find financial backers for his projects.

But I have to wonder whether the internet connection can be maintained during cloudy days and what the expected upload/download speeds will be and finally what the expected costs will be.

Affordable and globally available internet could be a game-changer. If viable, couldn't it challenge wireless carriers and ISPs?

Also, aren't there geopolitical ramifications. Would China, Russia, EU, etc allow their citizens to access the starlink system? Or will starlink have to be censored, filtered and monitored in these regions?


>But I have to wonder whether the internet connection can be maintained during cloudy days and what the expected upload/download speeds will be and finally what the expected costs will be.

Depends on the size of the constellation. Ultimately I think they want to have 3 sats visible at any given time which should be enough. The bands used can penetrate though anyway. I've seen numbers quoted of speeds up to 1gbps, so basically "good enough". I'm currently using a 4 mbps connection just fine and the fastest I have access to is 8 mbps down 0.5mbps up. And I'm getting my browsing done just fine. Costs are up to discussion, the main selling point of Starlink is backbone and the receiver was according to Shotwell one of the main research points to drive the cost down( 1k$ at the time but an obscure tech, they want it down to 300$).

>Affordable and globally available internet could be a game-changer. If viable, couldn't it challenge wireless carriers and ISPs?

No because of density limitations. They can't support enough bandwidth for an entire city. Also direct LoS is required so big buildings will limit you.

>Also, aren't there geopolitical ramifications. Would China, Russia, EU, etc allow their citizens to access the starlink system? Or will starlink have to be censored, filtered and monitored in these regions?

Current sat internet providers just don't sell their receivers in China or any country that doesn't allow them.


I’m not an expert but I don’t think clouds will affect it.

Do clouds prevent you from getting a GPS signal? (I know these satellites are LEO but I don’t think that should matter)


GPS is a bit different. It's uses multiple frequencies, so receivers can correct from some of the water vapor attenuation. I suspect that GPS satellites also broadcast at a much higher power than the starlink terminals will. Starlink is also using a much higher frequencies: GPS is around 1ghz. Starlink is in the 12-40 range since it used Ku and Ka band. Ku and Ka are much more susceptible to problems from moisture in the atmosphere. That's actually why K Band was split into Ku(under) and Ka(above). The middle parts around 22ghz are not useful for communicating through lots of atmosphere because so much of the signal gets absorbed by water (sidenote-- NASA and NOAA use signals around 22ghz to measure water vapor in the atmosphere. That's why they're pissed that the FCC auctioned off 24ghz spectrum for 5G-- it's going to interfere with forecasting things like hurricanes).


Is this only until they are in position or are going to see this everytime they fly over?


You’ll be able to see them as individual dots any time they’re illuminated by the sun when they fly over at night (like any other satellite), but they won’t be bunched together like this.


Each time they launch a new batch you'll see them like this briefly. There's 100+ launches planned over the next decade.


And astronomers where 'enjoying' the last Iridium Flares (their new satellites don't produce the flare). :)


is this what its always going to look like when we have 12000 of the things in the sky?

Astronomers are going to be going spare


Sending telescopes to space will be cheaper as the volume of launches increase


Money > Science, I'm afraid.


Okay that's interesting but I have to say it's also quite ugly. Is this a new trend to cluster satellites like this? If so what advantage does it bring and is it worth that ugly streak appearing in the night?

I get this comment is very subjective but surely I'm not the only one thinking it's a bit of an eyesore


Is it uglier than telephone poles and huge cell towers everywhere? Of all the infrastructure humans build out, this is probably going to be one of the least eyesore.


That's good then. And no I don't think it's uglier. You're right that many of the billboards and such are ugly but I still believe this to be ugly as well and I don't thing something being uglier invalidates it

Someone else commented something that puts me at more ease but it is worrying at first glance.


They are currently spreading out and once they have spread out enough they will move on their own power to their final orbits.


Hmmm well I hope it's not noticeable because starlink is planning 24 orbital planes with 60 satellites per. With that it's safe to say you could see up to 50 or so of them in a night due to the constellation pattern. That's a lot of flickering and moving light in the sky when coupled with AWS' initiative also. I'm hoping your right but at first glance it doesn't seem great.


There are well over a thousand operational satellites in low earth orbit currently, plus I don’t know how many dead ones. Have you noticed those?

They’re only visible for about an hour after sunset, since the satellite itself still has to be illuminated to be visible.


Hmm no. That does put me at more ease.

And yeah I included that last part in the estimate for seeing up to 50, otherwise the projection would be of course up to half of all of them.


Don’t get me wrong, Starlink will be a substantial increase in the number of satellites. But if you don’t notice them now, it probably won’t be overwhelming after.


I think their end goal with the full constellation deployed is 3 satellites in view at any time. And they should only shine at dusk/dawn.




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