Bay Area wakes up to mysterious lights in the sky

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A string of mysterious lights shone in the pre-dawn Thursday sky above the Bay Area, baffling early birds around 5:30 a.m. PST.

Viewers described it as a line of lights: One said there were at least 20 lights all together. Another said the line seemed 1,000 feet long. Residents reported seeing the phenomenon from Santa Clara, Pittsburg, Vallejo and more.

The KRON4 morning team sought an explanation for the strange sighting. And as exciting as it may seem, they are not alien Christmas lights in February.

Courtesy: Nicolas Cappello

“Years ago you may have never seen this in the sky… but going forward you may see this more often,” KRON4’s James Fletcher said.

Last year, the same mystery confused residents in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The short answer is: Elon Musk has something to do with it.

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 during a time exposure at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, May 23, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Fletcher found that Musk’s company, SpaceX, launched another Starlink rocket two days ago, which dispersed 60 Starlink satellites into the atmosphere.

The Falcon 9 launch happened at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Why are they so visible compared to other satellites we’ve sent to the skies?

“Starlink satellites are over 60 times closer to Earth than traditional satellites, resulting in lower latency and the ability to support services typically not possible with traditional satellite internet,” the company says.

Eventually, these line of satellites won’t be so easily seen. SpaceX says they aim to make them mostly invisible to the naked eye within a week of launching, by tilting the angle the sunlight shines on them.

The company is also adding ‘sun visors’ to the satellites, which are meant to block the sunshine from hitting the brightest parts of the spacecraft.

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