I was browsing YouTube when I came across this video, recorded from a sky gazer who apparently spotted the Starlink satellites. In my lifetime, I haven't seen many satellites in the night skies (maybe I haven't spent enough time searching), and I know that these satellites are relatively small compared to what else is up there, so my first impression of this video was that the satellites were captured with the camera gain cranked way up, but people in the comments seem to suggest that they can actually spot these things.

Are the Starlink satellites really so visible from Earth, or do you need special equipment to spot them?

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    $\begingroup$ There are quite a number of satellites visible to the naked eye, usually transiently. See the wikipedia page on satellite flares. $\endgroup$
    – Fake Name
    May 26, 2019 at 5:36
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    $\begingroup$ When the sky is clear enough and the time right (couple of hours after sunset/before sunrise), it's rare that I don't spot at least one satellite within the time it takes me to have a smoke. I was out for some 20 minutes last night (unfortunately the area where Starlink would be was behind clouds) and in that time I counted at least 8 others. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Mašek
    May 26, 2019 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ @DanMašek To be quite honest, I think the main reason why I haven't spotted many is because my environment and schedule rarely permits me to. It wasn't until recently that I moved away from a great center of light pollution. I remember I worked a late shift one night and, pulling into my driveway and stepping out, I spotted Orion's belt and it just struck me. I would've had a similar reaction to seeing the Great Pyramids in my backyard. The sight felt like something that belonged in stock photos, not right over my head. $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    May 26, 2019 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ @DanMašek I think that so many of us get caught up in the rat race that we forget to stop and appreciate the stars. $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    May 26, 2019 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ Gizmodo: Breathtaking View of SpaceX Starlink Satellite ‘Train’ Triggers Wave of UFO Sightings $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 28, 2019 at 3:42

2 Answers 2


Yes, the Starlink satellites were visible from earth with your naked eye and have been seen and recorded by several people.

  • $\begingroup$ That first link is the video the OP was refering to ;-) $\endgroup$
    – user10509
    May 25, 2019 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ Wow! That is stunning! $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    May 25, 2019 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ @JanDoggen: I know, but it also contains a lot of discussion and reports from several people who've seen the satellites themselves. Should have mentioned that, you're right. $\endgroup$
    – DarkDust
    May 25, 2019 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ It would be nice if this answer mentioned the visible magnitude and perhaps the circumstances (presumably reflected sunlight near dusk or dawn). $\endgroup$
    – Bit Chaser
    May 26, 2019 at 0:53
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    $\begingroup$ @bitchaser I may be able to add an answer (at some point in time) with that calculation. In the mean time the linked Gizmodo article at least demonstrates that these are indeed visible. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 28, 2019 at 4:01

I have the impression that some satellites are more easily seen with the naked eye than others.

Personally I was able to see only one : 2019-029AQ / 44273


Other sats were almost invisible to the naked eye, but I think in good circumstances one might see a few more.


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