top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Night sky lights over France are SpaceX satellites

A line of lights in the sky that were visible from France on Christmas Day were “Starlink” satellites put into orbit by SpaceX, and are set to show up again tonight (Friday January 3), it has been confirmed.

SpaceX is the space explorer business started by American entrepreneur Elon Musk. These satellites appear as a line of 60 lights, and they were especially visible from southwest France the night of December 25-26, 2019.

They are set to appear again over France tonight, from around 18-19h. They will then disappear gradually, as they move away from the Earth.

Astronomy research director at scientific research centre CNRS Bordeaux Franck Selsis posted the image (above) on his Facebook account along with detailed information on the satellites' visibility.

He said: “In reality, [the satellites] have been in the sky for several days, but weather conditions and clouds have not allowed us to see them...we can see them very well right now, as they are in low orbit, close to the Earth.”

The satellites are involved in the setting up of new internet service 6G, which is expected to significantly increase mobile internet speeds, especially when it comes to the streaming of films and video. SpaceX has said that it aims to launch 12,000 satellites, and as many as 46,000 over the long term.

But Mr Selsis warned that when it comes to satellites, “more” is not always better, especially for astronomers.

He said: “This satellites completely pollute our skies. And with such a high number, it is going to become more and more difficult to observe the stars.”

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now