HONOLULU (KHON2) — Viewers on Oahu’s North Shore have been sending in pictures and videos of strange lights above Oahu, and some residents closer to town also saw them on Tuesday, May 30.
KHON2 got some answers about what is behind the bizarre string of lights.
The lights have mostly been seen on the North Shore, but some Aiea residents spotted them Tuesday night.
“Just was looking up, and I saw the lights kind of randomly come across the sky. And I’m, like, ‘What is that?’ And, so, I broke out the camera; started filming it,” Shawn Swartz said. “It was really cool; it was just a straight line. it was about 50 or 60 of them.”
Swartz and Haleiwa resident Michele Sorensen said the lights move in unison before disappearing.
“They were like beads of light,” Sorensen said, “and then, they would just disappear into the sky one by one until there were no more; you couldn’t see them anymore.”
The University of Hawaii Institute of Astronomy said the lights are Starlink satellites; and when they are in a line, they are called satellite constellations.
“There’s a whole bunch of them so that they cover a large portion of the sky which is also why you see them in a line as they are or even in a grid as they pass overhead,” said UH Institute of Astronomy associate astronomer Roy Gal.
“They deliver satellite based internet service specially designed for portions of the globe that don’t have, you know, wired high-speed internet right now. So like, there are areas of, like, the Big Island, Kauai, Maui that don’t have high-speed internet; and you can get it through Starlink.”Roy Gal, University of Hawaii Institute of Astronomy associate astronomer
Starlink satellites orbit 340 miles above the earth, and SpaceX even has a website where you can enter your location to see when they will be overhead.
Gal said the satellites are most visible before dawn and after dusk; so, KHON2 asked if they will be a permanent thing that locals will see before sunrise and after sunset.
“They are a permanent thing. Their lifetime is not infinite; so, even at that altitude, there’s a tiny bit of atmosphere,” Gal said. “And yes, we’ll be seeing them; and we’ll be seeing lots more of them.”
Gal went to explain further.
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“So, Starlink, you know, is SpaceX. That’s an American company; but there are Chinese, British and other American companies and others around the world planning to launch more of them up to 400,000 in the next 20 years, explained Gal.