But what is this strange luminous phenomenon seen in the Lorient sky? This weekend, several residents were able to observe a trail of sparkling dots, following each other at regular intervals, above their heads. Like Marie-Laure Le Hen, a woman from Lorient who, surprised by this celestial apparition, shared her photos and video on the Facebook page “T’es de Lorient si…”.
No, this is not proof of extraterrestrial life but of well-identified objects. “It’s not a UFO, it’s purely human and we’re going to see more and more of them,” warns Bruno Mauguin, head of the Rennes Planetarium. According to him, it is probably the Starlink satellites, deployed by the American firm SpaceX, led by Elon Musk.
On May 14, 2022, at 8:40 p.m. GMT, SpaceX launched its 46th batch of 53 internet satellites. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Cape Canaveral space station in Florida, USA. ?“Europe is under the launch corridor. We can therefore be subject to observing the passage of these satellites. They have been requested to be coated in matte black but what we see are their solar panels. In general, we observe them when there has been a launch within 24 or 48 hours, ”notes Bruno Mauguin.
It’s not a UFO, it’s purely human? and we’re going to see more and more of it
These same satellites had already been observed in Brittany, in February 2021, but they are more visible at this time of the year. “In summer, the sun is more grazing. At the altitude where these satellites are, they are illuminated by the sun. With us, it is dark, but at the North Pole, it is daytime, explains the head of the Planetarium. Sometimes you see a rounder dot, like a big blurry spot. This one corresponds to the fall of the second stage of the Falcon rocket. What we then observe is the degassing of the reservoir when this part leaves its orbit to descend back into the Earth’s atmosphere”.
“Unprecedented pollution of the space environment”
Starlink satellites have been deployed since 2019, in low Earth orbit, a few hundred kilometers from the earth. With this constellation, the objective of the creator of Tesla is to guarantee high-speed internet coverage, in all geographical areas of the world.
Like many astronomers, Bruno Mauguin is worried about it. “It is an unprecedented pollution of the space environment and it was done without advice from the scientific community. We have launched 21,000 satellites in the space of 50 years. 3,000 are currently orbiting the earth. In 10 years, Elon Musk planned to launch 42,000. But Amazon also planned to do the same thing, ”he laments. If their appearance in the sky still arouses emotion, they should soon no longer surprise us. The May 14, 2022 launch brings the total number of Starlink satellites to 2,600.
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