(Update: More Starlink sighting info from OMSI official)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- That line of bright lights in the sky seen lately over Central Oregon are part of the SpaceX Starlink project, which has sent aloft dozens of satellites with a goal of bringing Internet service to areas around the globe.
Here's some info offered up Saturday by Jim Todd, OMSI's director of space science education in Portland:
This Is What Space X's Starlink Satellites Look Like in the Night Sky
Lately, with the unusual clear weather for April and everyone staying at home, more are observing the skies -- particularly with the excitement of the orbiting satellites sighting called Starlink, as they move across the sky.
It is work in progress of a massive satellite network that Space X is developing to provide low-cost internet to remote locations worldwide.
According to Space X, they launched 362 Starlink satellites to date. Since last May, Space X has launched six dedicated Falcon 9 flights for the Starlink network, each with 60 satellites on-board. Space X plans to deploy nearly 1,500 Starlink satellites to provide global Internet connectivity. Thousands more will eventually be launched.
If all goes to plan, they are scheduled to be publicly available by the end of 2020.
The beloved sightings of Iridium flares are nearly gone from Earth’s night skies, as the original set of 66 Iridium communications satellites have been decommissioned in 2019 and are being allowed to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.
If you would like to try and see the Starlink satellites, check the website, Heavens Above (https://www.heavens-above.com/), and then select 'Starlink passes for all objects from a launch' for the calculated sightings. Each launch of Starlink (Starlink 1, Starlink 2, Starlink 3, Starlink 4) has periods of sighting opportunities.
For example, Starlink 4 Launch, from now through May 9th, Starlink will be visible during the evenings near midnight. Soon, Starlink 5 will be launched in late April and a new list of sighting times will be available soon after.
The satellites, which are now orbiting at approximately 273 miles above the Earth, are putting on a show for observers as they move across the night sky. For about 6 minutes each, the 60 satellites appear as a "moving train" of moderately faint magnitude points of light between +2 to +4, near the brightness of the stars in Ursa Minor.
General motion varies, appears to be moving from west to east around 20 to 40 degrees above the horizon. For best viewing, position yourself in as dark a location as possible, far from any bright lights that otherwise could hinder your view.
Initially, the satellites were seen to be stretched out in a straight line measuring roughly 5 to 8 degrees in apparent length. According to Space X, as the satellites revolve around Earth at 90 minute intervals, they should appear less "bunched" together and may actually get a bit fainter as they are slowly raised to their operational orbits of 342 miles.
Considering the fact that the satellites are all generally faint, it is best to try and position yourself in as dark a location as possible, far from any bright lights that otherwise could hinder your view.
Scanning the sky with binoculars will certainly help. A lot depends on just how the angle of reflected sunlight strike the satellites in the hours just after sunset or before sunrise.