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Bright lights in southwestern Ontario night sky puzzle viewers

People who noticed some unusual bright lights in the night sky over southwestern Ontario Sunday may now have some answers.

Viewer videos from Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph show beams of light flying through the sky before slowly disappearing.

With four flying objects being shot down by the U.S. military in the last week, some people online said the sighting gave them an eerie feeling -- and the mysterious lights led to a range of speculation.

But there is a clear explanation, and it doesn’t involve aliens or spy balloons.

“What we saw last night was a grouping of Starlink satellites -- maybe 50 or so,” Michel Fich, an astronomer at the University of Waterloo, told CTV News.

The satellites, operated by Elon Musk’s Space-X, are part of a cellphone communications system.

“Their plan is to cover the earth, 100 km up, with small satellites,” Fich said.

According to an online tracker, this batch of 55 launched for Cape Canaveral in Florida at 12:10 a.m. Sunday.


Fich explained the satellites can often be seen from the ground in the first several hours after dusk and before dawn because they reflect sunlight. They’re most visible shortly after launch because they’re still grouped together.

“They [the lights] will go out, but not all at once. The front and then the back, so you get this great visual appearance going across like, 'Oh it's changing a lot.’ And then it's gone,” he said.

For astronomers at the University of Waterloo, the Starlink satellites are so bright they actually get in the way of pictures they're trying to take using specialized telescopes.

“You might have several of these, and it could completely mess up your picture, and it just becomes really hard to do astronomy when you have all this light pollution being put into place,” Fich said.

The Starlink Satellites were also spotted in Windsor Sunday night, in Regina this past May, and Ottawa in August, among other locations.

You can check when they could be visible in your area here. Top Stories

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