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.

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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.”

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