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

I saw what I think may have been star links flares last night, after googling I can't find any record of launches last night. It was approximately 6pm (give or take), it was in the San Francisco Bay are and I was looking West (an approximate using the compass on my iphone). The lights appeared as the other descriptions state, moving from my left to right.
I also saw something similar near Mammoth lake in CA back on September 2nd, these were much more dramatic due to the lack of light pollution.
Just checked using the sitrec, San Francisco should have seen the flares starting around 0400UTC, which is 8pm - so 6pm seems a little early to see them.

https://www.metabunk.org/u/207o9D.html

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Yes, I just wanted to be certain it wasn't a launch. Like I said it was around 6pm and had been dark for a while, I thought it may have been to long after sunset for flaring to occur.
 
Just checked using the sitrec, San Francisco should have seen the flares starting around 0400UTC, which os 8pm - so 6pm seems a little early to see them.

https://www.metabunk.org/u/207o9D.html

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Really? I am certain of the time as I was out for a walk and wanted to count my steps and I use the Health app on my iphone to count them so I wanted to track what I walked in a specific time. Personally I wouldn't call them race track, to me they looked like those running LED light strips (but much slower).
I actually thought it would have been too late given how long it had been dark.
 
it was the right direction anyway, towards the sun

the question is, does atmospheric refraction come into play when the observer is not on an airplane, but close to the surface, and that changes the angles?
 
I saw what I think may have been star links flares last night, after googling I can't find any record of launches last night. It was approximately 6pm (give or take), it was in the San Francisco Bay are and I was looking West (an approximate using the compass on my iphone). The lights appeared as the other descriptions state, moving from my left to right.
I also saw something similar near Mammoth lake in CA back on September 2nd, these were much more dramatic due to the lack of light pollution.
There were some trains nearby, but the one at 6:10 was moving north to south (so right to left if looking west)

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6:24 is closer, but still N-S

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6:43 is S-N, but very low on the horizon, far away.
 
it was the right direction anyway, towards the sun

the question is, does atmospheric refraction come into play when the observer is not on an airplane, but close to the surface, and that changes the angles?
Slightly, at the horizon it's about one moon diameter, about 0.5° of looming (raising up). Higher up it's not really that significant. I took out refraction adjustment from Sitrec as they were complicating things and the end result was pretty much the same.
 
another report from a pilot convinced that these are not Starlink flares....

We took this video from the cockpit of a 787 travelling from Japan to Canada on Nov 19th. Approx 4 am. 3 pilots in the cockpit all witnessed them moving at incredible speeds. We all agree they are not satellites or Starlink flares. They were changing colors and appearing and disappearing. The speed was 10-20 times faster than an aircraft travelling in the opposite direction. The closing speed on 2 aircraft at FL 370 would be close to 1000 mph. These objects were considerably faster

November 20th. 4-5am. We were at 37,000’. Will post video as well.



Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/UFOs/comments/182cc3s/video_from_cockpit_of_787_at_37000_approx_50n170w/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=mweb

https://www.metabunk.org/u/WcrpsD.html

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Probably ACA004
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Sitrec recreation...
 
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Hmm, Tried to reach out to the pilot but got this response:

How many hours do you have operating a $200,000,000 airliner? Or. How many hours do you have in the cockpit of an aircraft travelling at night at 40,000’. I have no experience with optical paths or imaging. What I do have experience with as a professional aviator is observation and rational thinking skills. If you think it’s starlink. Ok. I disagree but that’s why I posted. Explain the round orbs vanishing. Explain the round coloured objects with a cube inside. Moving at Mach 10 or so. I’m not gonna argue and this is my last response to you. I respectfully. Agree to disagree. Cheers.
 
Hmm, Tried to reach out to the pilot but got this response:
Ahh, another "expert". How does he think this *differs* from Starlink? Ask him to capture Starlink on the same device, and then show us the differences between this and that. You can even help him select a time/location for such a viewing using SitRec!
 
The pilot has now posted a photo of a 'cube within a sphre'. I think trying to convince them they saw Starlink is a lost cause.
I think trying to prove to him his photograph is an 'artifact' is equally fruitless. I took one look at the image, and realised that proves very little without further information on the make, model, zoom, etc... as many far more capable people on here have explained in so many other threads...
 
another report from a pilot convinced that these are not Starlink flares....



Sitrec recreation...

It's a frustrating little case, not only because of the pilot's conviction but also because the video is zoomed in and underexposed for stars, so the only fixed points in it are very faint and unidentifiable.

Note that Sitrec hyperlinks that don't use a linked TLE will default to use to the very latest TLE, and so will become progressively less accurate with time. I'm working on fixing this (by automatically rehosting the file, freezing it), but Thanksgiving is still happening, so it might be a few days. If you want to ensure you get repeatable results, then pick a TLE and upload it here as an attachment, then drag in the URL. Or wait a bit...
 
The latest from Jaime Moussan...

Extraordinary sighting of unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP's), technology that we still have a long way to go to understand; shared this November 23, 2023 by José Ángel Toraño; captured on Delicias, México, FL 340, [MTY - HMO]:

MTY-HMO = Monterrey to Hermosillo


Source: https://twitter.com/jaimemaussan1/status/1728056169489437027?t=RRD8V2wDb2j_bbJiA2Ud8Q&s=19


Looks like the flight was VB7083 - but on which date?
 
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Using the Google Earth Black Marble layer (kmz attached) that shows the lights on Earth as seen at night, I have geolocated the area which the Jaime Maussan video shows. As per his tweet, it is near the town of Delicias, however I dont think the flights that I previously noted would provide this perspective, they are just a bit too far south.

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Flights from Monterrey to Hermosillo on 22 November (right) and 23 November (left).
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Comparing the various flights from Monterrey to Hermosillo over the past week, there are two which are far enough north to provide the same view of Delicias - but in the video we can see that the plane starts a bank to the left at around the 0m26s mark. Only one of the two does this, and that was VB7083 that departed on 21 November, and was over Delicias at the timestamp 0315UTC on 22-11-2023. The KML is attached - or you can use this link on NightEarth.com:

https://www.nightearth.com/?@27.864362,-105.202794,11.021551328543207z&data=$bWVsMg==

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Using this data I've estimated the position of the aircarft at the start of the video as 27.89 N -104.69 W, and at a time of 0308h UTC on 22-11-2023. Lets put those details into Sitrec NighSky... (https://www.metabunk.org/u/tIfW7E.html)

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To Be Continued...
 

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To ensure we are using valid Orbital Data for the satellites I went to Space-Track.org and downloaded the Starlink data for 21/22 November 2023. These are attached and can be dragged-and-dropped onto the Globe in Sitrec to load them

https://www.space-track.org/basicsp...AT_ID,EPOCH/format/3le/OBJECT_NAME/STARLINK~~

Putting those values into Sitrec produced the results that we would expect - multiple starlink flares on a bearing of roughly 270 West.

(Permalink https://www.metabunk.org/u/tIfW7E.html)



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Screen recording Video at about 5x speed...


The final task is to synchronise the screengrab and the original video for the slam-dunk.
 

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Looks like Jaime's Video at 0m15s matches up with 0307:54s UTC, and the pattern and movment of the flares follows suit. I'm not great at syncing videos like this, but will give it a go ;)

@Mick West how do we add a kml for the camera location into Sitrec?

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@Mick West how do we add a kml for the camera location into Sitrec?
I have to set it up in code at the moment. I'm working on being able to do it client-side (with saving/rehosting), along with video

But let me munge that into a new Sitch....
 
Nice. Not quite as much of a slam dunk as the other videos, but still a good recreation.
 
Hi @Mick West

For the Maussan stitch, which TLE files are you using? The reason I ask is beacuse I cant get the 'manually configured' nightsky stitch to match up with the Maussan Stitch. I'm using the TLE file from space-track.org that I attached to post #136, dragged and dropped onto Nightsky (although I'm not sure it is having any effect). I tried setting them both to the same time (the time when I saw the alignment of flares in post #137) but they are not the same. (this is all inn Chrome desktop browser)

Maussan Stitch - time set to 03:07:54
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Night Sky Stitch manually configured to match above

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(permalink https://www.metabunk.org/sitrec/?sitch=nightsky&data=~(olat~51.48~olon~-3.16~lat~27.808199347377656~lon~-104.6725970618401~alt~11000~startTime~'2023-11-22T03*3a05*3a27.267Z~az~-84.60662101288041~el~-5.990391008895256~fov~45.2000244140625~p~(x~-8602489.684577148~y~-4002820.6220829636~z~-4615577.856540172)~u~(x~0~y~1~z~0)~q~(x~-0.35508232545064283~y~-0.7693297660831332~z~0.07605683849870508~w~0.5256078485797336)~f~4410~pd~true~ssa~false~sfr~false~ssn~false)_

What am I doing wrong?
 
What am I doing wrong?
Or what am I doing wrong :)

Dragging and dropping TLEs seems to be broken :(

I shall fix asap

Tip: Display the debugging console in Chrome to get (occasionally) useful info. Three-dot menu, then More Tools -> Developer Tools. Then select the "Console" tab. You can detatach the window with the dev tools three dot menu, then "Dock Side". e.g




Another issue might be that the camera position in the UI when tracking a plane (i.e. in the Maussan sitch) is not accurate. It's showing an initial setting, but the camera is following an ADS-B track, so the numbers shown are not accurate. I'll fix that.

But first, breakfast!
 
Fixed!

At least those two issues (and some more) are fixed. Hopefully that should cover what you were trying to do.
 
anther recent post on Reddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/UFOs/s/nRdxy8qycI


Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/UFOs/comments/18nauy7/from_my_office_at_fl340/?share_id=wWv-6qOZqVFKflGAYQXel&utm_content=1&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_source=share&utm_term=
So this was filmed from a 737 at flight level 340, mach 0.77 level flight with no changes in direction or speed. Course was westbound over italy at 21:00ish UTC today, i found these lights very strange. Would be very interested in an explanation how they can appear and disappear suddenly in various directions and speeds, doesnt look like other traffic or regular satellites that you can observe very frequently.

There was barely any chatter on radio as there was not much traffic in this sector on our cruising altitude, and we did not discuss those lights much either but we noticed them.
 
Another post on Reddit....

The following submission statement was provided by /u/mbrown4161:

---

\*\*Location:\*\*

Flying above Montgomery County, Montana looking due west.

\*\*Date of sighting:\*\*

December 18th, 2023.

\*\*Time of sighting:\*\*

20:40 MST

\*\*Duration of sighting:\*\*

Just over 16 minutes.

\*\*Number of witnesses:\*\*

2.

\*\*Description of sighting:\*\*

(FULL FLIGHT STATS AND INFO BELOW) At 20:38MST, my fiancé and I had just finished watching a movie. The window seat (23A) next to us was empty. I leaned over to look out the window and noticed a light appear next to what I believed was a star suddenly appear out of the darkness, travel to the left a short distance, then fade and disappear. I thought it was a little strange. 10 seconds later, it happened again in the same location. That’s when I nudged my fiancé and chuckled to him that I’d just seen a UAP.

He leaned over and watched the same event happen for a third time and confirmed what I was seeing. At 20:40MST, I started filming out the window on my iPhone 15 pro. We watched and filmed for roughly 16 minutes, as lights would appear, disappear, brighten, fade, move in all directions, hover and seemingly merge with a fixed ‘star’ (light) in the sky. We were audibly excited about these lights; exclaiming each time another one showed up, but the passengers around us were either all sleeping or had their headphones on. As to prevent any commotion in the cabin, we opted to not make an announcement or draw too much attention to it. In that 16 minutes provided, we caught multiple events. The final event, which happens at timestamp 16:05 in the raw footage provided, shows a triangle formation of lights suddenly appearing then merging together to become one bright light, which then travels upward and disappears. When we landed at YYC and were deplaning, I mentioned to the head flight attendant that I caught some footage the pilots might want to see. She invited me into the cockpit to speak to Captain, who was still seated, and I showed him a clip of the triangle formation. He asked questions about when it occurred, where I was sitting, etc. He was excited and invited his co-pilot and the head flight attendant to watch the footage. They were both surprised, enjoyed it and encouraged me to share it online.

Date: Mon. Dec 18th, 2023

Flight: WestJet 1517 PHX - YYC

Aircraft: B737

Info: Departed Gate B27 18:48PM MST, Takeoff 19:04PM MST

Altitude: 36,000ft

Ground Speed: 540mph/469kts

Course: 357º

Seat Assignments: 23 B and C, seat A (window) was open

Location at start of video: Latitude: 45.4319 | Longitude: -112.2931

Madison County, Montana, USA

Time at start of video: 20:40MST

View out window: Looking due west at left wing of aircraft, clear skies with stars and moon in view.


Source: https://youtu.be/kgvOYPrgZWA?si=ZoPrYtmCh77xAU9i
 
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Another post on Reddit....
That's a great one, with " a triangle formation of lights suddenly appearing then merging together to become one bright light, which then travels upward and disappears. "

Clip from 16:05



What happens seems to be that three satellites happen to converge and at the same time the camera loses focus, then when focus comes back, only one flare is still visible.

Might be a good one to Sitrec...
 
Some great flares seen in this pilot video...
More details:
Awesome: here is the video position HDG 090deg 42.58.42N/083.39.18W 36,400ft AGL 3:53AM lcl Dec23.2023 love to see what you get. Had another that showed two stationary with two passing laterally a mth ago. I’ll find the data for that too.
Content from External Source
And I did this quick video

Source: https://twitter.com/MickWest/status/1740421482826838422


I wonder if I can sync it...
 
What I'd be interested to know at this point, with the phenomenon well and truly explained, is there any sense that an understanding of what these flares actually are is penetrating into the pilot community...?
 
What I'd be interested to know at this point, with the phenomenon well and truly explained, is there any sense that an understanding of what these flares actually are is penetrating into the pilot community...?
I think so, as you do get people speaking up in threads like that. Obviously it's still going to take a while.
 
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