What caused trail of flashing lights spotted over Norfolk?

Elon Musk's SpaceX satellites, also known as Starlink, captured in the Norfolk skies overnight on Su

Elon Musk's SpaceX satellites, also known as Starlink, captured in the Norfolk skies overnight on Sunday. Picture: Harry Groom

Amazed stargazers across the county were left wondering what they had witnessed as they spotted a trail of bright flashing lights fly through the Norfolk skies.

Residents across the county spotted the lights – spaced evenly apart with some claiming they were flashing red, white and blue – over Norfolk between around 9.30pm and 10.30pm on Sunday.

When extraordinary things are spotted high above in this world of science fiction, it usually brings about thoughts of aliens, but this particular phenomenon has a much more simple explanation than little green men.

Instead, the trail of lights spotted were Starlink satellites, which were visible from a number of places in western Europe overnight.

Starlink is a project from American engineer and entrepeneur Elon Musk’s company SpaceX, which began properly last year when the first 60 operational satellites were launched.

The SpaceX satellites spotted over Caister-on-Sea. Picture: Richard Lay

The SpaceX satellites spotted over Caister-on-Sea. Picture: Richard Lay - Credit: Archant


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The idea is to build a group of thousands of satellites which will orbit the earth in the hope of providing low-cost superfast broadband.

But the project has been criticised by astronomers for the negative impact on their profession, as the reflective satellites can interfere with long-range telescopes.

Unusual lights in the skies in January were thought to be SpaceX satellites, though the company would neither confirm nor deny these rumours.

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BBC meteorologist Simon King confirmed the lights spotted by some on Sunday night were from Starlink, and said they would be visible again tonight at around 10pm.

Sally Edwards said she saw the “amazing train of satellites” over Norwich at around 9.30pm on Sunday.

She said: “There were around 30 or 40 travelling about 10 seconds apart. It was fascinating to watch – our son’s friend had alerted him to some mysterious lights in the sky and he came and told us to go have a look.”

Antony Little, also from Norwich, said he saw “those 30 or so white line of lights go overhead in Norfolk, all evenly spaced out and took around 10 minutes to go across the sky”.

Meanwhile, former Holby City actress Rebecca Grant said she was taking down her washing when she “saw five lights in the sky, not moving but flickering red, white and blue”.

Have you got any pictures of the lights? If so, please email them to daniel.moxon@archant.co.uk.

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