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Video of STARLINK Satellite Train Flying Through Aurora Borealis Will Make You Long for Space Travel


A video of a train of SpaceX Starlink satellites traveling through the Aurora Borealis over Alaska (captured by Ronn and Marketa Murray), will make you long for space travel. Or at least a trip to Alaska.


SpaceX‘s Starlink satellites—which are deployed from the company’s Falcon 9 rocket into Low Earth Orbit (LEO)—often put on quite a show for onlookers when they’re first released into space. The show is so good, in fact, sometimes people who are unfamiliar with the sight mistake it for a UFO. A new, glorious glimpse of one of the satellite trains may take the proverbial cake, however, as it shows the row of car-sized satellites flying through an Aurora Borealis over Alaska. Although, fair warning, the video may make you long for space travel.

Starlink Auroras from Earth to Sky Calculus on Vimeo.

In the video immediately above we watch as a train of 49 Starlink satellites (which are currently used to deliver internet to relatively remote parts of Earth) soars through the shimmering, alien-green Aurora Borealis. For those unfamiliar, auroras—like the Aurora Borealis—are the result of streams of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun interacting with gases in Earth’s atmosphere. More specifically, after departing the Sun’s atmosphere, the charged particles travel through space and pass by Earth, where they are largely deflected by our planet’s magnetosphere. Some of the charged particles, however, pass around the magnetosphere, and, after wrapping around the magnetosphere on the night side of Earth, then snap like a rubber band and, after following the magnetosphere’s field lines back to Earth, dive into the north and south pole—causing the Aurora Borealis. (Daytime auroras are due to charged particles that interact with Earth’s poles on its daytime side—see the unrelated video from truemaskedwabbit immediately below).

Critically, once the charged perform this directional change, they interact with oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere and emit either a yellowgreen glow or an orangered one. The charged particles can also, somewhat more rarely, also interact with nitrogen, emitting a purple and/or blue glow.

Spaceweather.com, which also reported on the Starlink Aurora Borealis video, notes that this particular train (the satellites are always deployed dozens at a time) was launched on August 31, 2022 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Spaceweather.com notes that the train flew over Alaska on September 1, then made a return showing on September 2. Marketa Murray, who captured the video along with her husband Ronn, told Spaceweather.com that they “saw them both times” and that the video is actually of the second flyby.

“We saw this while taking some guests out on our aurora tour,” Murray told Spaceweather.com. “It was really beautiful.” Speaking of which, for anybody who’s interested in seeing the Aurora Borealis for themselves, the Murray couple offers a “Premium Northern Lights Tour.” Although if you do go on the tour, you may end up like those particles incoming from the Sun—i.e. highly charged. (Probably still worth it though.)


Feature image: Ronn and Marketa Murray via Earth to Sky Calculus


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