Amazing Sky Videos

This is a recording, in real-time 4K video, of a group of Starlink satellites in their passage across the sky on May 17, 2021.

This was the set of 52 Starlinks launched May 15, 2021 as the 28th Starlink launch, but is called Starlink 27, as the first launch was of test satellites. However, some references call this group L26, so the nomenclature is confusing!

On this night the group had spread out into two main bunches, with the members appearing to be about magnitude 3 to 4. With the haze and moonlight they were difficult to see naked eye but the camera picked them up well.

Note how a couple of Starlinks appear to fade in and out; perhaps they are tumbling. And note the “outriders” following along in a parallel path. The launch did include two “piggybacked” payloads — the Capella Space radar satellite and the Tyvak NOAA Earth observation satellite.

The night before, on May 16, the group appeared in a tighter line and much brighter, about magnitude 1 to 2. On May 15, only about 7 hours after launch, they appeared as a short streak going across the sky, so tightly spaced they could not be resolved to the unaided eye, making for an unusual sight indeed.

Starlinks do fade below naked eye brightness as they evolve into their final orbits and orientations. But for the few nights after launch they can appear as an unusual train of dots moving across the sky.

Music is “Lonely Nights” by Adi Goldstein/AGSoundTrax.com

TECHNICAL
I shot this with the Sony a7III camera at ISO 51,200, and with a Canon 35mm lens wide open at f/1.4 for maximum brightness. To also help keep ISO and noise down I shot with a dragged shutter speed of 1/4-second, thus the jerky motion. But shooting with a faster shutter speed, while it would smooth the motion, would have required an even higher ISO and intolerable noise levels in the image.

# vimeo.com/552132012 Uploaded 735 Views 0 Comments

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Amazing Sky Videos

Alan Dyer Plus

A collection of videos of astronomical time-lapse movies and still images by Alan Dyer. Check out my ebook on "How to Photograph & Process Nightscapes and Time-Lapses" at amazingsky.com/NightscapesBook. Please drop by my blog at amazingsky.net for…


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A collection of videos of astronomical time-lapse movies and still images by Alan Dyer. Check out my ebook on "How to Photograph & Process Nightscapes and Time-Lapses" at amazingsky.com/NightscapesBook. Please drop by my blog at amazingsky.net for more images and stories. My main searchable galleries of still images are at amazingsky.photoshelter.com. Thanks for looking!

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    My latest video records a batch of Starlink satellites in a passage across the sky.

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    My latest video shows time-lapses of geostationary satellites trailing through Orion.

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