Derby

SpaceX satellites spotted over Derbyshire

Starlink satellites Image copyright @MTNielson
Image caption The "constellation" of Space X Starlink satellites was spotted in Derbyshire

Stargazers across Derbyshire were startled when they saw what appeared to be a new "constellation" in the night sky.

The near-perfect line was in fact formed by the Starlink, satellites launched by Elon Musk's SpaceX company earlier this year.

They were spotted across Derbyshire and the Peak District.

Tom Sparrow, an amateur photographer, said the satellites were "quite a spectacle".

The Bradford University archaeology researcher caught the orbital pass by chance on a time-lapse video in the Peak District.

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Media captionA time-lapse of the Starlink satellites taken from the Peak District

He said: "It is an odd sight, I knew they form a train so when I saw two I knew what it was.

"If you've ever seen the International Space Station go over, it's probably of equal brightness at the moment."

However, the unusual sight unsettled some residents.

The BBC's Derby County commentator Ed Dawes wrote on Twitter: "Why is there a straight line of stars moving in convoy over head at high altitude? #UFO

"It was freaky."

Anthony Southwell, spokesman for Derby and District Astronomical Society, confirmed they were the Starlink satellites.

He said: "They're not very big satellites but they're highly reflective, and they catch the sunlight which is why they're illuminated.

"They're deployed in a sort of lined arrangement, and they're more visible because they're in a low orbit."

But the amateur astronomer said many enthusiasts were "shouting blue murder".

"It's another degradation of the night's sky.

"It's bad enough we've got light pollution, and we do have lots of satellites up there but nothing as pernicious as this constellation."

Earlier, SpaceX told the BBC it was actively working with international astronomers to minimise the impact of the Starlink satellites.

Earlier this year, the firm sent 60 satellites into orbit.

The company's intention is to launch thousands of satellites to provide high-speed internet available across the globe.

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