SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Across Central New York Thursday night, people were looking up and saw 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 skywatchers were noticing a strange phenomenon happening in the night sky.
To some, the reflection of the satellite reflection represents a form of light pollution. Elon Musk has said SpaceX was working on a way to fix this light pollution issue.
One way to dim this light, is a sunshade on the solar reflectors, something that will already be in place on future launches. Musk has said the sunshades will be made of a dark foam material that should not affect radio transmissions. SpaceX decided to go with a less reflective coating on the satellites, but people are still seeing them in the night sky.