# Why are Starlink "Racetrack" Flares [Mostly] Reported from Planes?

If your graph was accurate, the flare ought to be reddish, from the sunlight passing through a lot of atmosphere.

Does the angle at the center of the Earth correspond to the actual positions of observer and identified satellites?

What are you basing your 90⁰ sighting angle on? (perfect observer line vs. radius)

I think it is possible that the normal vector of whatever surface is reflecting the sun on the satellite may not be aligned with the center of the Earth, i.e. it might be tilted slightly north or south. Can we determine this from the data?
We've seen from the videos of the pilots that the flares scintillate as we expect.

If your graph was accurate, the flare ought to be reddish, from the sunlight passing through a lot of atmosphere.
I think if it it was reddish, then the sunlight would be being attenuated to the degree that it would not be visible to the naked eye. Consider that you can see the shape of the sun at sunset, which normally takes a very powerful ND filter. Starlinks in direct white sunlight are would probably not be visible with such a filter.

Red flares would happen though, just super dim. Possibly visible in NV.

Yes it does, however this is a 2d model that is taken from a slice of a 3d Globe. The actual angle is a function of both the lat and long of the observer and directly below (nadir) of the satellite. Haven't quite worked out the formula for that yet.
The haversine formula determines the great-circle distance between two points on a sphere given their longitudes and latitudes.

assuming you have lat/long for the satellite

assuming you have lat/long for the satellite
Yes you can use the haversine furniture in specific scenarios when you have the lat long of the observer and the satellite. One you've calculatied the straight line surface distance you can compare this to the earth's circumference, which will produce a fraction. Taking this fraction of 360° then gives you the angle between the two radii from the centre of the earth.

In my post above I was referring more to modelling it in 3d (although admittedly I did state 'formula').

haversine furniture
they did use tables to compute the haversine in the olden days, but still...

An interesting video (in Portuguese) showing numerous Starlink satellites flaring.

Source: https://youtu.be/VZJaTR-pOqw

Of particular interest is this composite image showing where the highest intensity flares occur...

I haven't got night vision equipment but If the weather's playing along I might pack my camera, head out and try to get them in a long exposure. I guess it would be interesting to see at what elevation they flare out.
So I had the evening to myself and decided to give it a try. I visually spotted three flares at the predicted time and spot near the star Altair. If you knew what to look for you couldn't miss them but they weren't bright enough to draw your attention if you happened to simply look in that direction. The exeption was at peak intensity, which lasted for about five seconds, at which point they brightened to about the magnitude of Altair. They seemed brightest around 5° and flared out around 7°. Individually they reminded me of a low-intensity Iridium flare but the repeating nature of two or more of these was quite extraordinary. I knew exactly what was going to happen and it still weirded me out a little bit. I can certainly see how this might fool people into thinking it's something else.

Unfortunately I didn't manage to take a picture of these as I was still busy setting up my camera. At the time I think I was busy taking the dark frame image of all things to reduce image noise in post so I didn't even have the lens cap off yet...
Anyway this I think is the best I got. Doesn't look like much yet in this version, Altair is the bright streak just right of centre.

But you can see some upwards streaks in this edited larger crop.

They're very faint and I didn't see them with the naked eye but they match Starlink passes at that time.

f/4
ISO 800
109 seconds exposure time

#### Why are Starlink "Racetrack" Flares [Mostly] Reported from Planes?​

But this thread is more about why the pilots are seeing and reporting them. i.e., why are they particularly visible from planes.
maybe Im stupid, but isnt that kinda obvious? the why, I mean. lots of light pollution on the ground, people not looking all the time up, especially at night in cities (staring at very bright smartphonescreens instead)...pilots at night looking out the window most of the time, very dim cockpit illumination, hence better nightsight of the pilots, almost no light pollution outside (especially over oceans), flying above most clouds, flying high up, less atmospheric disturbance...

right?

maybe Im stupid, but isnt that kinda obvious? the why, I mean. lots of light
Yes all the factors you state are true, but the not quite so obvious factor is the orientation of the Starlink chassis that, in ideal conditions, will actually reflect the sun's light past any observer on the ground. The brightest part of the flare will only be seen by those at altitude, with only the edges of the reflection being seen from the ground.

The flares are now being seen and reported from the ground, I've seen them for the last 3 nights in a row. please see the other thread....

Yesterday I was contacted via DM by a pilot on PPrune.org (the Professional Pilots Rumour Network) who had read my comments on the thread "Light show between 40 and 30 West" . He was flying over the Bay of Biscay at 0400Z on the morning of 14 Feb 23 and saw the Starlink flares phenomenon. He took some photos and they show that they were visible towards the NE close to the horizon.

I had hypothesised that the region that the phenomenon would be visible would move south as the seasons progressed into spring. I could see the flares from my location in the UK around Christmas time, but in January the sun was getting to -40 degrees later in the day and moving closer to North. This meant that there wouldn't be enough Satellites in the right position to generate flares for me so I could no longer see them. I thought that you'd need to be further south to see them. This sighting from the Bay of Biscay seems to confirm that idea.

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### 'We're not crazy': Listen to a flight report unusual lights near Yellowknife in January:​

Air traffic controllers and an approaching flight couldn't identify "two white lights … moving in a circular pattern" that were reported over Yellowknife late at night on Jan. 29.

"Good evening, just wondering, do you got two planes that are just to the east of your field doing circuits or manoeuvres?" a crew member aboard a Canadian North flight from Fort McMurray, Alta., to Yellowknife, N.W.T., asked as it approached the city in northern Canada around 11:15 p.m. local time.

"Negative, I have no reported traffic in the area," an air traffic controller in Yellowknife replied. "Do you have a visual on something?"

"Yeah, we're looking at two lights dancing around here, to the east of your field," the crew of the twin turboprop Canadian North aircraft said. "They're above us, about, I don't know what. We're not seeing them on TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system). But we can see the lights moving around."

I don't have anything on the radar either. Let me talk to centre," the tower responded, likely referring to a flight information centre or flight control centre.

A moment later, the air traffic controller was back on the radio.

"Hey, centre doesn’t have anything about any movement in the area, so I'm really wondering what you're seeing there," they said.

"Yeah, so are we," the flight answered.

"All right, I'm trying to look," air traffic control said, likely peering out of a tower window. "I don't see them from the ground here. Well, I'll keep an eye out. I'll talk with centre again."

"Yeah, no worries," the crew replied. "They're not a risk to us."

Based in the Ottawa suburb Kanata, Canadian North services multiple destinations across northern Canada. As the flight got closer to Yellowknife, the Canadian North crew described seeing the lights "moving around in a circular pattern" well above them, approximately 20 kilometres northwest of the airport.

"We'll talk on the ground," the air traffic controller said. "I'll file a CIRVIS report – this is when we have some sightings that we cannot explain."

Civilian air traffic control in Canada is operated by the private company Nav Canada. According to Nav Canada aviation guidelines, CIRVIS reports – short for "Communication Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings" – should be made "immediately upon a vital intelligence sighting of any airborne and ground objects or activities that appear to be hostile, suspicious, unidentified or engaged in possible illegal smuggling activity." Nav Canada even puts "unidentified flying objects" at the front of a list of "vital intelligence sighting" examples, which also include "submarines, or surface warships identified as being non-Canadian or non-American."

The air traffic controller comes back on the radio again to ask what colour the lights are.

"Roger, thanks."

There's then a pause before the crew member comes back on the radio to say, "We're not crazy."

"No, we believe you."

Source: https://youtu.be/Q6JgyhoCyi8

Filed UFO Report....

So... are these Starlink flares...? Lets look at the evidence.

Location of the Plane:

61.97374° N -114.27012° W

Location and position of the sun at 29 Jan 2023 23.15 Local:

(We know that Starlink flares only occur when the sun is around 40 degrees below the horizon)

https://www.suncalc.org/#/62.4616,-114.3677,5/2023.01.29/23:13/1/3

Sun angle below horizon -42° (this is as we'd expect for Starlink flares, as mentioned in other threads)
Direction of sun 327° = NNW

Checking for the position of Starlink satellites in the sky at 29 Jan 2023 2315 Local (UTC-7)

So, this shows that there were Starlink satellites visible from the aircraft's location at the time of the sighting, and that they meet the conditions for Starlink flares that we have seen in other cases.

This case is interesting because I initially dismissed it due to the location being too far north, but upon proper investigation and checking the data it shows that it was a canditate for Starlink flares.

[edit: changed IntheSky.org snip to local time rather than UTC]

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This case is interesting because I initially dismissed it due to the location being too far north, but upon proper investigation and checking the data it shows that it was a canditate for Starlink flares.
Too far north for the majority of SL sats in the lower inclination orbits but in the right spot for the 97.6° high inclination groups, which pass near 83° N when they reach the northernmost point of their orbits.

And there's more...

http://tinyurl.com/28sr9yuw

Source: https://youtu.be/yuwQMa0xL28

location and time fits for the sun position:

https://www.suncalc.org/#/45.4293,-71.8066,8/2023.02.12/13:41/1/3

These are the three aircraft mentioned in the report, all heading northeast , which is directly towards the sun azimuth over the horizon.

Snip of the aircraft data including the track heading.

Snip from https://in-the-sky.org/satmap_planetarium.php for the location, date and time of the sighting shows that the usual concentration of Starlink satellites.

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Another video posted by pilot Gary Michael from LA to Boston on the 27th of Feb. Mentions observing a number of lights on the horizon for 15 minutes, other pilots reporting the same. Video of the lights is at 1:12 mark. Sun was well below 40 degrees in the predawn hours on approach to Boston. Not sure which direction he was filming when he filmed the lights.
Edit: Actually, I think the stars to the left of the lights are Deneb, Sadr and Aljanah, and the pilot said he was flying over southern Illinois.

Source: https://www.tiktok.com/@garybpilot/video/7205817721546755374?_t=8aK5ZqPmIw7&_r=1

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This is from 10 March 2023 - I have asked for date and location.

Wilkes Aviation LLC appears to be based out of Watertown South Dakota.

The are three stars visible above the 'strange lights', these appear to be from the constellation Cygnus, which (if we assume the video was taken over CONUS) currently rises in the early hours of the morning towards the Northeast. This is again consistent with the conditions under which Starlink Flares occur.

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From the Original poster on Twitter...

Details: Flying Eastbound toward Montreal, 150 miles out, 02:00 local time.
“They will change directions, go up, down, left right, sometimes close together, sometime farther apart, disappear from view and then return a minute later. Round bright white flashes closer to our altitude, and a lot closer range, also in the area but those are random” -Pilot

I've taken Kingston ON as the rough position of the aircraft (roughly 150miles west of Montreal). I'm a bit dubious about the statement of "02:00 local time" as this is often the pilots phone time at the departure airport, which we don't know yet, although we can assume was west of Montreal/Quebec. I'm also suspicious of times that are "o'clock" as they are often just a rough estimate. I have asked the OP to request the exact video time from the pilot. However, checking at 3am Canadian EST shows that there were Starlink satellites emerging from the earth's shadow just under Cygnus. And the Sun position checks out too.

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I think I might have seen some. 8:40AM UTC, April 7th, flight VS42 (departed April 6th, California time). Looking left about 45° (from the plane heading). Took some phone video and photos, but I don’t think it shows anything. Focus was an issue.

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Another report of Orbs over the atlanic has been released......

Video of UAP from a Dutch airline pilot flying from South America to the Netherlands. Filmed using an Iphone 14 in 2023. Sighting lasted several hours and was witnessed by the cockpit crew and an airplane flying in the opposite direction. Video was shared with UAP Coalition Netherlands ambassador Tako who spoke with the witness who is a pilot.

This looks like starlink flares again, and this sped up version, whist looking interesting, shows the repeatative naturte of the sighting and aligns with the idea that these are starlink flares.

Edit: I've emailed the https://uapcoalitienederland.nl/ and asked for the flight data, date, time and original video file.

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Goodevening Flarkey,
Thank you for your email. Our organisation does not do specific research into what UAP are. You can find our goals on our website. It is however good to know there are organisations out there, who do research on UAP whatever they may be.
I will make sure the pilot who recorded the video receives your email. If he is interested in finding out more, i am sure he will contact you.
Kind regards,
Joachim
Founder
Website: uapcoalitienederland.nl
Email: info@uapcoalitienederland.nl

Interesting, so what do they actually do then?

Interesting, so what do they actually do then?
yeah, after posting that I thought the same thing.

it says on their website...

#### Safety and Security​

One of the main reasons why research into UAPs is of great importance to the EU is the safety and security of the airspace. UAPs can pose potential threats to civil and military aircraft, which is why it's important to understand what these objects are and where they come from.

By conducting research on UAPs, we can gain insight into the nature of these objects and the risks they entail. This will enable us to take measures to improve aviation safety while ensuring the security of our airspace.

Isn't determining if a UAP poses a risk or not to an Aircraft a safety issue. Showing that a UAP is no threat is equally as important as showing that it does, because aircrew can be distracted or put the aircraft into an evasive manoeuvre when one wasn't required.

Maybe they're just trying to keep the U in UAP?

Perhaps it is an idea to invite them here? Or at least the person you are in contact with. If he does not want to interact over here, I am not sure how serious we need to take them.

Perhaps it is an idea to invite them here? Or at least the person you are in contact with. If he does not want to interact over here, I am not sure how serious we need to take them.
I've just replied to them saying how surprised I was to read that line in the email, and how it contradicts what they say on their website. I suggested that determining that a UAP poses no hazard to an aircraft is equally as important as determining that it does, because of the distraction it causes to aircrew and the risk associated with making a sharp evasive manoeuvre when one wasn't required. I also offered our services free of charge.

let's see if we can help them.

edit: here's my email

On Tue, 4 Jul 2023, 20:55 <flarkey@gmail.com> wrote:
hi Joachim

thanks for the reply. I was surprised to see you say "Our organisation does not do specific research into what UAP are. "

I have looked on your website at your organisation's goals and I noted the following section...

#### Safety and Security​

One of the main reasons why research into UAPs is of great importance to the EU is the safety and security of the airspace. UAPs can pose potential threats to civil and military aircraft, which is why it's important to understand what these objects are and where they come from.

By conducting research on UAPs, we can gain insight into the nature of these objects and the risks they entail. This will enable us to take measures to improve aviation safety while ensuring the security of our airspace.
Isn't determining if a UAP poses a risk or not to an Aircraft a key objective of aviation safety? Showing that a UAP is no threat is equally as important as showing that it does, because aircrew can be distracted trying to work out what they're seeing, or they may even put the aircraft into an evasive manoeuvre when one wasn't required.

Pilots need to be able to recognise that they are seeing multiple flaring satellites that are 2000km away, so that they do not think they are 'orbs' just a few km away. Starlink flares are a distraction to aircrew that may someday cause an air accident. if these objects in the video are indeed Starlnk as we suspect, then you have a great opportunity here to identify them as such, and to make a positive impact for aviation safety in the EU and around the world.

And if they are not Starlink - well then maybe we are on the verge of an amazing discovery.

So if you want any help in determining if these pose a safely risk to Aviators or not then we would be willing to help at no cost. The guys at metabunk.org are a well educated and pleasant group who do this for no reason other than the thrill of solving a puzzle.

We are here to help.

Flarkey

@Daves! Can you tell us about the reputation of UAPCoalitie, compared to e.g. ufomeldpunt ? For context, see the posts above this one.

Report from Argentina saying that multiple lights were reported on the horizon by an aircraft about to take off on 4th August 2023...

https://www.rionegro.com.ar/socieda...sde-la-torre-de-control-en-bariloche-3067181/

### Unidentified lights in Bariloche: "99.9% certain that it is not an aircraft"​

From the runway they saw unidentified lights on the horizon. The control tower confirmed that they were not aircraft. Listen to the shocking statements in the video.
The control tower's response to the pilot of a plane that was about to take off at the San Carlos de Bariloche airport left an impact on all the workers who were performing duties at that time of the morning.

The images were captured by airport workers who published on their social networks the video of the two and three lights that moved incessantly a few kilometers from the runway, while on the radio the dialogue between the tower of control and the pilot of an aircraft that was about to take off. It all happened on Friday (4 Aug 23) between 4:40 and 5:45, when the runway operators began to observe the two and sometimes three lights that made incessant movements on the horizon in the middle of a night with completely clear skies.

Source: https://youtu.be/MwSTaldDpPk

Finally, when it was already in full flight, the plane's pilot asked the tower if the aircraft had been identified.

Pilot: "Out of curiosity, the aircraft could be identified" (the lights that could be seen in the distance and that the pilots, the tower and the operators had observed)

Control Tower: "I keep seeing it... I'm 99.9% sure it's not an aircraft..."

Pilot: "Isn't that sorry?"

Control Tower: "THAT IS NOT AN AIRCRAFT..."

"This is the first time I've seen something like this," they say from the airport:
Pablo Leiva, an airport worker, assures that since the first days of August they have been observing similar situations. In communication with "Ya es tiempo" by RÍO NEGRO RADIO, he explained what they saw: "A movement at a much higher speed than what we are used to and a variation in height, because there is an abrupt ascent and descent." "What we saw was a light that dimmed and intensified," he specified.

He also said that it is not the first time that something similar has been observed. "Other control tower shifts have seen it and there are records in other parts of the city." Still, he said: "You have to take it with a grain of salt, we can't say it's about extraterrestrial life." Although he assured "we see lights, very real, almost tangible but we cannot venture to define what it is."

Leiva is about to complete 13 years of work at the airport and this is the first time he has seen something like this.

The flight was FBZ5277 : https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/fo5277#316fcf21

The runway is on an SE heading , and in the video we can see 3 of the 5 glide-slope lights that indicate if an aircraft is descending to land at the correct rate. This suggests that the video is pointing directly down the line of the runway.

Looking to that direction - South east - at 5am local time shows that Sirius was just above the horizon - this could account for one of the bright lights seen in the video.

But doing the usual check for starlink flares we can see that (1) the sun was in this direction at about ~40 degrees below the horizon and (2) that there were deployed Starlink satellites entering/exiting the daylight terminator .

So it is likely that this is again a case of Starlink flares seen from South America.

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Another sighting over the Pacific reported by a pilot on Reddit.

Airline Sighting Aug 24 Over Pacific

Hello, I am a Pilot for a major airline and Navy Reserve Pilot having flown off aircraft carriers all over the world for my entire career. In my 20 years in the Navy, I have never seen anything, though I know others that have. Well last night, transiting from Hawaii to Seattle on the Zulu pacific track, Myself, the other pilot, and a host of other planes got a pretty crazy light show.

At about 1 am pacific time (maybe +1) Im not sure how iPhone displays the time, right past the halfway point on the Zulu track (an established ATC pacific crossing route) we started hearing chatter on the radio, about ufos and a light show. As we looked to about a 030 heading, immediately to the right of the Big Dipper, one piece of sky had quite the anomaly going on. About 20-30 degrees above the horizon were objects that were moving left to right as whole but in that movement would move up and down or right to left. We watched these for over an hour until they just stopped. At first they all seemed to move pretty linear and with constant velocity so I took them to be satellites or something else, but I questioned why we could only see them in one piece of sky. They would not track across, they would disappear as they moved to a certain portion. Then we saw some move in more non linear motion and even gain speed and then I really began to question what they were.

The video is from an iPhone 14, it does a decent job but there were a ton of more dim "ufos" that I don't think it picked up. Anyways any explanation or debunking is welcome... it was quite the night and definitely kept me awake during my redeye! I have another video I will post that has what looked like a pyramid shape of lights. All these videos were from the cockpit glare shield held as still as possible.

Original video might be too big so here is a shorter one. I will work on getting these linked up on YouTube or something unless someone just tells me I saw starlink

They seem satisfied with the Starlink flare explanation as shown in @Mick West 's videos..

#### Attachments

• zix8zi4huakb1.mp4
33.1 MB
They seem satisfied with the Starlink flare explanation as shown in @Mick West 's videos..

Finally! It took a while before at least one pilot agrees..

@Mendel ? Where am I wrong (again) in your view?

@Mendel ? Where am I wrong (again) in your view?
whilst I agreed with your post, I do think that there have been numerous other pilots that have accepted the Starlink explanation, although not many that are in the public eye.

Just deliving into the details of this last sighting....

At about 1 am pacific time
= Hawaii time = UTC-10, so that is approx 1100UTC.

right past the halfway point on the Zulu track
Havent quite been able to identify ZULU track on the Central East Pacific Tracks, but i assume it is one of the northern routes shown on the FlightRadar24 Oceanic Tracks. For the date and time of the sighting there were numerous Airliners halfway between Hawaii and Seatle, one example being Delta 2307.

The position of Delta 2307 at 1102UTC is: 38.61287 -140.02985

Checking in-the-sky.org - it shows a bunch of starlink satellites in the region to the right of the Big Dipper.

These are directly above the sun, which is at approx -42deg.

So this sighting fits with all the known parameters under which Starlink Horizon Flares occur.

Just heard from the pilot who filmed this latest sighting. The flight details and time of the video are:

External Quote:

"Delta 328 aug 23 arriving aug 24. iPhone video labels time as 1245 but I’m not sure what time zone that is… probably 145 pst. Thanks for reaching out!"
Will check this out later to see if it affects anything and if we can synchronize the video.

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Havent quite been able to identify ZULU track on the Central East Pacific Tracks, but i assume it is one of the northern routes shown on the FlightRadar24 Oceanic Tracks
I downloaded the "North Pacific Route Chart (Composite, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest)" at https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/ifr/ (Planning), and A331 has all waypoints starting with the letter Z. It connects Hawaii and Seattle.

Just heard from the pilot who filmed this latest sighting. The flight details and time of the video are:

External Quote:

"Delta 328 aug 23 arriving aug 24. iPhone video labels time as 1245 but I’m not sure what time zone that is… probably 145 pst. Thanks for reaching out!"
Will check this out later to see if it affects anything and if we can synchronize the video.

He said it was about halfway, which suggests 12:45 AM HST (Hawaii time, shown in the image below), 10:45 AM UTC

#### Attachments

Here is a collection of ATC recordings of aircraft over the central USA reporting seeing circling lights near the Big Dipper.

This is a combined feed of ATC talking to multiple pilots around the Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas boarders reporting lights/UFOs/UAPs.

Source: https://m.soundcloud.com/user-167728866-252687135/zdv-combined-2023-08-25-0530z-clip

Source: https://soundcloud.com/user-167728866-252687135/zkc-mci-aug-25-2023-0500-0530z-condensed

Here is a collection of ATC recordings of aircraft over the central USA reporting seeing circling lights near the Big Dipper.
hmm do we need a resource for ATC (or anyone else) where you can plug in lat, lon, alt of an observer (and optionally time, default to "now") and it tells you whether that observer can see starlink, and if so where?

or, alternately, a resource that marks on a map the area where starlink is visible now, or at a chosen time.

hmm do we need a resource for ATC (or anyone else) where you can plug in lat, lon, alt of an observer (and optionally time, default to "now") and it tells you whether that observer can see starlink, and if so where?

or, alternately, a resource that marks on a map the area where starlink is visible now, or at a chosen time.
I know @Mick West has started making a Starlink satellite model in Sitrec, but nothing is finished yet. a simple globe model with regions highlighted where 1) the sun is 40° below the horizon, and 2) there are Starlink satellites in the direction of the sun would probably be enough. (I guess it's easier said than done)

Here's a news report regarding the lights that pilots saw over Colorado and reported them to ATC.

The interesting part is this....

In another conversation with controllers, one pilot suggested the lights might be related to Starlink, the satellite internet company operated by Elon Musk. Starlink satellites are often visible from the ground and can appear as flickering orbs of light as they cross the sky.

Maybe the message is getting through and pilots are become aware of the phenomenon of Starlink Horizon Flares.

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