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SEATTLE — It appears satellites from a SpaceX launch danced in the night sky over western Washington Tuesday, catching the attention of stargazers once again.
People shared photos and videos on social media just after 9 p.m. Tuesday showing a long streak of lights moving through the sky. People reported seeing the lights from Bellevue, Puyallup, Covington and even Portland, Ore.
The National Weather Service tweeted the lights appear to be associated with SpaceX's Starlink satellite launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit, according to the SpaceX website.
Dr. James Davenport, an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington, explained Tuesday night why people are seeing the satellites.
"What we actually saw was the 60 Starlink satellites that had just been deployed this afternoon and they were still in low orbit, and they were still clustered together so we call this like the Starlink train," said Davenport. "You see like a little chain of satellites all close together reflecting sunlight back at us."
As of 11 p.m. on Tuesday, KING 5 has not received any word from SpaceX regarding the apparent spotting of the satellites over western Washington.
In March, a strikingly similar scenario played out in the night sky, which turned out to be debris from a SpaceX rocket coming back down from orbit.
SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, launched that Falcon 9 stage 2 rocket on March 4, and the debris was seen in the sky the night of March 25. The rocket was supposed to de-orbit over the ocean, but came down over the northwest instead. A piece of that rocket was actually found in Grant County days later.
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