Star Gazing

SpaceX: how to see Starlink this week in London, New York, Los Angeles

SpaceX's internet connectivity constellation is making its way across the sky.

SpaceX's Starlink constellation is moving across the night skies. Fans in London, New York, and Los Angeles will have a chance this week to spot the satellites as they make their way overhead.

This is an exciting time for the nascent network. Starlink engineers held an "ask me anything" session over Reddit this week, revealing a number of tidbits about how the system works.

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Their clues elaborate on details out of the "Better Than Nothing" beta test, which involves select American users. Among the new details was confirmation the current constellation is bunched up around 53 degrees latitude. They also revealed the ground dish has a heater, which should prove useful in the coming months. Oh, and users will be able to move their connections to new addresses or no address at all, according to the engineers.

One of the most interesting reveals came in questions about latency — a key factor for gaming and video calls. Starlink appears to want response times in the tens of milliseconds, similar to ground-based connections, rather than the hundreds of milliseconds found in current satellite setups.

The Starlink team explained that the constellation's 550-kilometer altitude means light can travel the distance in 1.8 milliseconds. The round trip to a server and back could be as fast as four times that figure, but ground-based connections to servers slow this figure down, the engineers said. One of the team's jobs is to make those response times even faster — before the service is rolled out to the wider world next year.

There have been significant hiccups in Starlink's deployment. Plans to launch the 16th batch of satellites were called off on Sunday, something the team put down to "mission assurance." It would also have been the first time that the same Falcon 9 booster had flown seven times. The mission was rescheduled to Monday evening.

A SpaceX Starlink mission taking off.Getty Images

The website FindStarlink collects the best opportunities for fans to see these satellites as they fly overhead. Note that they are becoming harder to spot by design, as SpaceX works to make them less visible. These changes are expected to help astronomers, who were not too pleased by the dazzlingly bright early batches.

The website warns that these sightings may not be visible based on user reports, but some users do still report success in some instances. With that in mind, here's where you may have the best chances to see Starlink this week:

SpaceX Starlink: when and how to see in London

All times are in Greenwich Meantime.

  • Tuesday, November 24, 6:22 a.m.: The satellites should be visible for four minutes. Look from west to southeast.
  • Wednesday, November 24, 5:54 p.m.: The satellites should be visible for five minutes. Look from southwest to southeast.
  • Wednesday, November 25, 5:24 a.m.: The satellites should be visible for two minutes. Look from south to southeast.
  • Thursday, November 26, 5:30 p.m.: The satellites should be visible for five minutes. Look from southwest to east.
  • Friday, November 27, 6:06 p.m.: The satellites should be visible for six minutes. Look from west to southwest.

SpaceX Starlink: when and how to see in New York

All times are in Eastern time.

  • Tuesday, November 24, 5:08 a.m.: The satellites should be visible for three minutes. Look from northeast to east.
  • Tuesday, November 24, 5:58 a.m.: The satellites should be visible for five minutes. Look from northwest to east.
  • Tuesday, November 24, 5:28 p.m.: The satellites should be visible for six minutes. Look from southwest to northeast.
  • Wednesday, November 25, 5:43 a.m.: The satellites should be visible for three minutes. Look from west to southeast.
  • Friday, November 26, 5:36 a.m.: The satellites should be visible for four minutes. Look from northwest to east.

SpaceX Starlink: when and how to see in Los Angeles

All times are in Pacific time.

  • Wednesday, November 25, 5:47 a.m.: The satellites should be visible for five minutes. Look from northwest to southeast.
  • Friday, November 27, 5:25 a.m.: The satellites should be visible for three minutes. Look from west to south.
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