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Weird Lights Above: Starlink Satellites Visible Over Washington, Oregon, Coastlines

Published 08/20/22 at 5:08 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Weird Lights Above: Starlink Satellites Visible Over Washington, Oregon, Coastlines

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(Portland, Oregon) – Nothing like strange lights in the skies to “brighten” up your evening. (Above: a Starlink satellite above Portland. Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

At least one video has surfaced of a string of odd lights in the sky above the Pacific Northwest, showing them heading in a straight line and at an even pace. That, it seems, was the latest launch of Starlink satellites zipping around above towns both major and small on Friday, and likely even putting on a show along the Oregon coast and Washington coast.

They've been spotted before, and Oregon Coast Beach Connection has caught the individual trails in the past. If you missed it, there's more chances to catch them roving around over the next three nights. They will still be moving together in a train-like bunch, which is a bit of a mind-blower.

Photos above: stills from video by Emily Rader. See the full video from last year

SpaceX launched its 60th batch of Starlink satellites into space on Friday, a series of high-speed wi-fi satellites that will primarily serve areas of the world that don't have access to telecommunication companies.

The launch also marks another special milestone for SpaceX, as the Falcon 9 rocket then made another successful landing on a drone ship on the Atlantic Ocean.

Times for seeing the Starlink spacecraft over the next three nights are a bit tricky, as sources like don't display specifics for areas on the Oregon coast or Washington coast, such as Westport or Newport. They do, however, show inland big cities nearby. Starlink sites are unfortunately not showing any viewings possible for the southern Oregon coast or southern Oregon over the next three nights – which are supposed to be the evenings where they're the easiest to see.

Times listed for Portland are (with Seattle off by a few minutes):

Saturday (tonight): 9:44 pm. Starlink-55 (G4-27) (new) for 4 mins. Northwest to northwest.

August 21: 9:42 pm for 4 mins. Northwest to west.

August 22: 9:37 pm for 3 mins. West to southwest.

Times are approximate, and thus an adequate guidepost for viewing along the beaches of the Oregon coast or Washington coast, should you find yourself with clear skies. The other caveat is that viewing is dependent on the satellites catching the reflection of the sun, which may or may not happen.

The big plus is that they are predicted to be fairly bright, with apparent brightness around 2.3 to 3.2 in the first three days. This is as luminous as some of the brighter stars in the sky but not as brilliant as one of the planets.

In spite of the rumors, Starlink satellites are not using 5G technology, however satellites launched by China are.

According to OMSI astronomy expert Jim Todd in Portland, SpaceX’s fleet of Starlink satellites also rather sadly herald the end of something awesome in the skies: the Iridium flare. This photo above is of an Iridium flare over Manzanita, which happens when these older satellites catch a glint of the sun and are rather bright. They’re often mistaken for meteors.

“The beloved sightings of Iridium flares are nearly gone from Earth’s night skies, as the original set of 66 Iridium communications satellites have been decommissioned in 2019 and are being allowed to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere,” Todd said.

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Below: starfall on the Oregon coast

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KEYWORDS: Oregon coast astronomy, Washington coast astronomy, weird news Oregon and Washington, Starlink

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