Points of light moving in the sky… – 1jour1actu

What are these bright spots?

They’re satellites! Human-designed devices that revolve around the Earth. They don’t give off any light. So when we see them, it’s because they’re high enough in the sky to be illuminated by the sun, just like the moon.
Several of these satellites are launched almost every week by the American company SpaceX. This company sends them into the sky with a rocket. It releases dozens of satellites on each trip, which is why we see several of them passing by in single file. We can observe them in this arrangement for up to 15 days after they start, then they separate. And we don’t see them anymore.
Here is a video showing Starlink satellites observed in Indonesia, a country in Southeast Asia. Similar observations have been made in other countries and even in France.

What are these satellites used for?

These satellites are called Starlink. They are created by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company. This American engineer wants thanks to his satellites Providing Internet for Everyone: in poor countries and in the most remote places on earth.
Today there are more than 5,000 Starlink satellites orbiting overhead. But Elon Musk’s goal is to place a total of 42,000.
Thanks to their large number and their low altitude (only 500 kilometers from Earth), they are very efficient. They communicate with each other and quickly provide the information you are looking for on the Internet.

How do you look?

The Starlinks are small satellites, which are about 6 by 3 meters (with the solar panel open) and weigh 1 ton. Thanks to this small size, it is possible to fit several in one rocket.

This image is from 2019. The first 60 Starlink satellites can be seen before the rocket takes off. They are “folded” into part of the rocket. Once released into space, they open a solar panel. (HO/@elonmusk/AFP.)

Learn what a Starlink satellite looks like in this artist’s impression When he opened his solar panel:

1696813097 798 Points of light moving in the sky… 1jour1actu(© Photocreo Bednarek/Adobe Stock.)

Many thanks to Olivier Sanguy, editor-in-chief of the Cité de l’espace in Toulouse.

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Nathalie Michel