Third Starlink launch takes place

Another launch of Starlink satellites took place in the early hours (GMT) of 7 January 2020. Currently the satellites are not visible from the UK, as their passes take place at night when they are not illuminated by the Sun, although they are visible from lower latitudes at twilight.

However, the train of satellites is predicted to start a long series of evening passes as from Friday 17 January as seen from southern parts of the UK, and a few days later from farther north. On some occasions the satellites will pass almost overhead, although as seen from farther north they will be considerably lower in the sky.

Some of the satellites could appear as bright as magnitude 2, so will be easily visible with the naked eye. At the moment many satellites are visible at the same time as a procession, as seen in the photograph below, taken three days after the previous launch from the Caribbean. However, they will become more separated over time as each one is placed in a separate orbit and reaches a higher altitude.

Starlink satellites
Starlink satellites photographed from Tobago, 13 November 2019. The bright object at upper left is Saturn. Photo: Robin Scagell. Click on the image to view a video from which this still was taken.

Predictions are given at www.heavens-above.com. Note that you will need to enter your location before going to the Starlink predictions. Currently, you need to go to ‘third launch placeholder’, and bear in mind that the timings may well be in error by many minutes. In time, predictions will be given for individual objects within the train of satellites and should become more accurate. For help on interpreting the predictions visit our help page on how to predict the appearance of the ISS and other satellites.

Follow this link to see a video of 18 Starlink satellites crossing the sky on 19 January 2020.