What’s that ‘line of lights’ in the night sky?

No, it’s not aliens! 👽 Those are satellites! 🛰️

KSAT Connect User SkyWatcher captures the train of Starlink satellites August 18, 2023 (Copyright 2023 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)


  • The line of lights are Starlink satellites, owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX
  • Purpose of satellites is to provide widespread internet access
  • 4,000+ Starlink satellites are in orbit as of July 2023 with plans to deploy more
  • May interfere with stargazing
  • Any defunct satellites will burn up completely before making it back to Earth’s surface

It’s a question we’ve been getting with more and more frequency in the KSAT weather studio: “What’s that weird line of lights in the night sky?”

And, to be fair, the lights do look a little creepy -- a perfect train of lights marching across the sky. Almost as if they were put there by intelligent beings 🤔.

Well, turns out WE are intelligent beings! To be specific, the line of lights is Starlink satellites.

What are Starlink satellites?

Starlink is a network of satellites operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

The first satellites were deployed in 2019, so the line of lights in the sky is a new phenomenon. As of July 2023, there are over 4,000 Starlink satellites in orbit with plans to deploy more than 10,000 in the coming years.

The purpose of the satellites is to provide internet access across the globe. The satellites communicate with ground stations, the nearest of which is located in New Braunfels. There are four other ground stations located in Texas: Boca Chica, Sanderson, McGregor, and Hampshire.

Impact on stargazing

With thousands of these satellites in low Earth orbit, there is a concern about light pollution from astronomers and general stargazers, making it more difficult to observe the natural night sky.

Space “junk”

The Starlink satellites are just a part of the thousands of satellites in orbit right now. As the number of satellites grows, there is some concern for collisions leading to space “junk” or debris falling uncontrollably back to Earth.

The good news is that Starlink satellites are small enough and designed to completely burn up before reaching Earth’s surface.

How can I view Starlink satellites?

A live map of where Starlink satellites are located can be found here. An approximation of times when the train of satellites will be visible can be found here.

Read more from the meteorologists on the Whatever the Weather page

Download KSAT’s weather app for customized, accurate forecasts in San Antonio, South Texas or wherever you are

Find the latest forecasts, radar and alerts on the KSAT Weather Authority page

About the Author

Sarah Spivey is a San Antonio native who grew up watching KSAT. She has been a proud member of the KSAT Weather Authority Team since 2017. Sarah is a Clark High School and Texas A&M University graduate. She previously worked at KTEN News. When Sarah is not busy forecasting, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and cat, and playing music.

Recommended Videos