This Satellite Train won’t last forever, so get out there fast!
After SpaceX deployed the first 60-working satellites for their Starlink Satellite Communication system, Astrophotographer Dr. Marco Langbroek captured this video of the satellites forming an awesome train of lights streaking across the sky!
I want to capture the Starlink Satellites too! How do I do it?
First, check out my video on the Photog Adventures YouTube Channel and get the quick and easy answer to that question:
Tracking Starlink Satellites
If you want to make sure you are at the right place at the right time, go to this link, and it will load your local area and the next TEN DAYS of predictions. Go to N2YO.com and click on “Watch Starlink satellites crossing your sky! https://www.n2yo.com/passes/?s=74001#
For mobile, check out “Heavens-Above for Android, and Orbitrack for iOS. Once you have the app installed, for Heavens-Above, click on “Search Satellites” at the bottom of the menu list. Search on the term “Starlink” to find “Starlink (leader)” and “Starlink (trailer).” Select one to see where the start or end of the satellite train. As of Tuesday morning, the gap between the first and last Starlink satellite is about 20 minutes, and it is increasing each day.
Sunlight Flares Reported
There are several reports of the Starlink Satellites “flaring.” A flare is when the solar panels or the satellite itself reflect a beam of sunlight towards the surface of the Earth. If this light is bright enough, it causes a brief, but rapid brightening of the satellite. This process can take several seconds to build and then several more to fade.
Motorola’s Iridium satellites, first launched in 1997, were notorious for this behavior. Since the flares were predictable, watching the flares became a favorite pastime of satellite spotters. The Iridium satellites were exceptionally bright, reaching -8 M
The Starlink flares, while not as bright as the Iridium satellites, have been already reported to reach -2 Magnitude. This is still brighter than any stars in the night sky. At this point (28 May 2019), it looks like the Starlink satellites will range in brightness from around Magnitude 3 to 5. That’s not very bright for urban areas, but they will be noticeable in locations with darker skies. But the flares should be visible in all but the brightest early evening skies.
At this point, I don’t know of any satellite tracking apps what predict flares. Once the Starlink satellites assume their final orbital positions, I’m certain there will be apps/websites that will make flare predictions. (Update by Kirk Keyes)
UPDATES COMING AS I GET OUT & TRY FOR MYSELF!
On Wednesday morning at 4 am, I have an opportunity to capture this awesome Starlink Satellite ‘train’ of lights over my ever beloved Silo! With only an hour drive away I can get out there and set myself up easily at night for a composition that will bring the lights overhead and the Milky Way rising in the southeast.
I will use my Canon 6D to capture a timelapse of the event while trying to capture individual images of it through a telephoto lens or my telescope with my Canon 5DIV.
It is going to be awesome!
Make sure you check back here Wednesday for an update about this adventure!