The latest addition to the Starlink internet satellite constellation was visible Sunday night about an hour after sunset.
Beginning around 8:56 p.m., onlookers glanced to the northwestern horizon for a line of small lights, 53 in all, rising upward. They passed nearly overhead just before 9 p.m. before disappearing into the Earth’s shadow above the southeastern horizon by 9:03 p.m.
Some describe the string of lights as resembling a train, or even ducklings following a mother duck.
The satellites were over Illinois as they came into view, then followed a line that took them over Charlotte, then Myrtle Beach.
Launched from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Thursday, April 21 at 1:51 p.m., this is the latest batch of office desk sized satellites designed to provide global internet service. There are generally 6-8 Starlink satellites in our skies at any point in time. In the days following a launch, they can be seen because though dark here on the ground, sunlight is still reaching these as they orbit at about 200 miles above the Earth.
Following launch, each satellite is moved into its final orbit by raising its altitude and spreading out the flock of satellites.
The same 53 satellites will be visible Monday evening beginning at 9:13 p.m. rising from the west. But this pass will be more than five times dimmer, and more widely spaced making them more difficult to see.
By Tuesday, this batch of Starlinks will be lost from view.