BRISTOL – UFO? Not so. The train of lights spotted at night this past weekend was actually the SpaceX Starlink satellites being launched from Florida according to experts.
Several residents took to social media upon spotting the lights, with some thinking that they were an unidentified flying object. The lights were seen in the Northwest sky throughout the U.S. and Canada, following the SpaceX launch this past Friday.
Marc Dantonio of Terryville, an astronomer and the chief photo and video analyzer with MUFON (Mutual UFO Network), was able to capture the launch, which he said led to numerous reports. He has two telescopes, one of which he operates from his home and another which is set up at an observatory in Arizona that feeds into his home computer.
“People aren’t used to seeing space launches from here,” he said. “I saw the Starlink launch on Saturday night. I saw the main booster go up and there was a massive plume and burst of light in sort of an unearthly color.”
Dantonio explained that people saw a train of lights because the satellites were being brought up by a rocket.
“They are spring loaded and timed to release with each being a little slower than the last,” he explained. “Over time, they will spread out around the Earth.”
Lt. Geoffrey Lund with the Bristol Police Department said that one of the city’s police dispatchers informed him of the SpaceX launch. No residents called the Police Department to make reports.
“They were pretty cool to look at,” he said.
Dantonio added that, Monday night stargazers may also catch a glimpse of something interesting. NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission will be taking place.
“They are trying to nudge an asteroid that is in orbit around another asteroid,” he said. “This is to test to see if we have the ability to protect ourselves if an asteroid was on-course to Earth.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.