Those Confounded Lights In the Sky – Again!!

| April 27, 2020

Go ahead, bark at the Moon

Used to be that, if there were lights in the night sky, it was in a V-formation and was pooh-poohed as being migrating geese or something similar. And people were sure it was space aliens leaving Earth.

Now, it’s Elon Musk and his project to put something on the order of 50,000 or more communications satellites into orbit around Earth, so as to provide better internet communications…. as if we really, really need more of it.

He hired Space X to do the job, as follows:  Space X has launched its network of 56 satellites to provide better internet service, as of yesterday, April 26. Here’s the link to’s article about it from last year, including the launch video while in orbit:

This is the more recent display at night:

Some people thought they were space aliens visiting us, as always, but it was not to be. They’re just commlink satellites, and Elon Musk chose Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral for his launch pad, instead of the space center in California.

If you’re up at night and the sky is clear, occasionally, you may see a communications satellite passing overhead like a speeding freight, but that’s only if the night sky is really clear and mosquitoes are gone for the rest of the year.  In this case, you may see a string of them, spread out in a line as if it’s some sort of space train carrying bananas and chili to the Moonbase we’re supposed to build up there.

I sometimes wonder if any of those space guys at NASA read “Have Spacesuit – Will Travel” when they were kids.  We have to sit here on Earth and watch, while satellites orbit above our heads.

And they still haven’t quite figured out why Tabby’s Star seems to be fading and then reappearing, but it seems to be debris from an exomoon that is slowly breaking up, and 21 more like it have been found, per this article:


Category: "Truth or fiction?", NASA, Space Force

Comments (21)

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  1. AW1Ed says:

    Pretty amazing- a line of 60 satellites heading up to their orbit altitude.

    Are the scientists sure Tabby’s Star isn’t really the Cheshire cat?

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I think someone did suggest that, a while back, but it went nowhere and then returned and went nowhere again.

  2. The Other Whitey says:

    I remember being on my way to class at San Diego State one evening about 17 years ago (Christ, I feel old) when they fired something off from Vandenburg. I was crossing the pedestrian bridge over College Avenue when the ascending rocket became visible on the northwest horizon in the twilight. Being the lifelong nerd that I am, I recognized it for what it was immediately. A girl next to me saw and asked what it was. I said “Looks like they’re launching something into orbit from Vandenburg Air Force Base.”

    “Like what?” says she, “Like a missile?”

    “Yeah, possibly.”

    She gets all worried, and I can see the incipient stage of a valley girl meltdown looming. “Like, oh my God! Are we at war now?”

    I tell her, “As long as it’s just the one, I’m pretty sure we got nothing to worry about. If you start seeing a bunch more in the next few minutes, then you can panic.”

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    More future space junk? In the grand scheme of space distances, those birds aren’t high at all. I can see the lawer TV ads a few years from now; “If you have been hit by falling space debris, you may be entitled to compensation.”

    And yes, I do howl at the moon.

  4. Commissioner Wretched says:

    Ex … “Have Space Suit, Will Travel” was the book that introduced me to science fiction! I loved it the first time I read it!

    I read that book for the first time when I was seven, and I’ve owned a copy ever since.

    Thanks for the brightening of my day!

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      You’re welcome, Commish!

      • David says:

        Another of Heinlein’s, “The Door Into Summer” was the first sci-fi I ever started. My brother told me it was too old for me and returned it to the library. The year after, my first purchased sci-fi was “The Puppet Masters”. Despite some of the crap he wrote, Heinlein is still one of my favorites along with Clark, Asimov, Smith, Russell, and Miller.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        My two favorites are “Have Spacesuit – Will Travel” and “Red Planet”. There was a lot of stuff after that, but those two have stuck with me all this time.

        • Commissioner Wretched says:

          Have you read the “original” “Red Planet,” Ex? The *truth* about Willis?

          • Bubblehead Ray says:

            Glory Road, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Starship Troopers are a few of my favorites too. Even the “edited” version of Red Planet alluded to the real nature of Willis.

          • Ex-PH2 says:

            Willis laid a clutch of eggs. That’s why “he” was so important.

            There original text with all the gun stuff and what Willis might become has been restored and is available.

          • Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman says:

            I’ll have to go and look that up, an extended revision of “Red Planet” (I’m sure I have the paperback around somewhere).
            I recently bought (and am waiting the delivery of) another RAH post-mortem revision, “The Number of the Beast” => “The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes”.
            Apparently the first third of “Pankera” reads the same as “Number”, then goes off into, supposedly, a much better version then “Number”. From what little I have been able to glean, “Pankera” was the original, but had to be revised due to, supposedly, arguments over copyright permissions with the ERBurroughs estate, over heavy usage of Barsoom material in “Pankera”.

  5. Cameron says:

    This stuff excites me. There are times that I can’t wait to see what’s next in terms of space travel.

  6. Slow Joe says:

    Why we need more internetz?

    Imagine if someone had said that back when dialup modems where the shit. Do you think internet would have advanced to the point where it is today at dialup modem speed?

    The 5G internet will revolutionize the world in ways you cannot predict right now.

    For one, VR interfaces will at last be capable of replacing all the screens we use these days. Between phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs the average home has like 10 different screens. All that can be consolidated into one now.

    • OWB says:

      You do realize that there remain a few million of us without reliable access, through no fault of our own. Guess we should all just move where we get better service, huh?

  7. Zulu02 says:

    Star Ship Troopers. Enough said. Heinlein also worked on the atomic bomb, Naval Academy grad.

  8. Bubblehead Ray says:

    A few nights ago we were sitting outside enjoying a fire pit and beautiful night sky. We watched a satellite zoom across the sky and could see it clearly. Pretty cool.

  9. We used to watch Sputnik when it flew over.