If you're unfamiliar with Elon Musks ambitious Starlink project, here are the basic highlights:

  • Space X has been given approval to launch up to 42,000 internet satellites into space.
  • The first launch of 60 satellites was on May 24th, 2019.
  • There has now been a total of six launches (of 60 satellites each) since, the latest was on March 18th this year.
  • The goal of the Starlink program is to provide internet access anywhere on the globe at a fairly reasonable price for customers. This could be good for a lot of rural Montana residents with limited options to access the internet (and potentially millions of global customers with no access).

Have you seen them cruising across our night sky yet? I am not even close to being an amateur astronomer (more of a star gazer), really. I love seeing cool stuff in the sky and I've been following posts on pages like the MONTANICA! Facebook group, where people across Montana have seen the string of bright lights. Finally, last weekend I got to see them for myself.

It was about 9 pm and I was sitting on my deck, gazing up. I saw the first satellite and thought, "huh, that's cool." Then I saw another one. Followed by another and another. Evenly spaced, moving about 20-30 seconds apart if you are looking at one spot in the sky. All in a line. They were going from S/SW to N/NE. I stopped counting after about 25 or 30 of them cruised by across the sky. I even brought the kids out to see them so they wouldn't think I was nuts telling them about it. It was really cool and kind of eerie to watch.

One way to get a general idea when the Starlink satellites will be be overhead again is on this website, Heavens-Above.com. The site has a lot of technical information and isn't super user-friendly but if you fiddle around for a minute you'll get the idea.

Oh! Remember when they launched that Tesla roadster into space? It's still cruising out there and it's REALLY far away. See where it's currently located HERE. Next time you are outside "social distancing" at night, take a look up. Maybe you'll get to see the string of Starlinks.

Nearby National Parks at Night

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