Archive for May 28, 2019

05/28/2019 – Ephemeris – A new satellite phenomenon was visible last Saturday night.

May 28, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 28th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 14 minutes, setting at 9:17, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:02. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:57 tomorrow morning.

Last Saturday night at the star party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake shore we saw an amazing sight. After 10 p.m. we saw a ghostly line in the sky. It looked like a jet contrail at first, but there was no jet making it, and besides at that altitude the Sun wouldn’t be shining on it. It reminded me of the tail of Comet Hale-Bopp that graced our skies 22 years ago, But the ghostly line was moving to the northward. It dawned on us that these were the 60 Starlink satellites SpaceX launched two days before. It was the first 60 of a planned 12,000 satellites that will launch in Elon Musk’s Internet satellite venture. The satellites, each too faint to be seen with the naked eye will soon spread out along their orbit.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Starling Satellite train

The train of Starlink satellites the night after launch from the Netherlands by Marco Langbroek from his video on

I went out during the writing of this week’s Ephemeris programs at 11:45 p.m. and saw three of them.  This time they went almost overhead.  There were three satellites close together in line.  According to Heavens-Above the train is really getting spread out, so I may have been seeing only some of them.  I didn’t see any fainter ones in between.  Overhead the three were quite bright.


An article about the Starlink satellite train:

Here’s a place (Heavens Above) to get predictions of the passage of the satellite train for your location:  They also have predictions for the International Space Station.

Scott Manley’s YouTube video – Will Starlink & Other Satellite Networks Ruin The Night Sky For Astronomers?

YouTube video of the Starlink launch: