Elon Musk’s fleet of Starlink satellites caused an outbreak of UFO sightings over the Christmas period.
The spaceships are designed to provide an internet connection to remote parts of the world.
But landlubbers on Earth are often mystified by the satellites, which appear as a ‘‘train’ of glowing lights in the sky.
This led astronomers to warn that the ‘constellation’ could block our view of our space, with one stargazer dubbing Elon ‘the man who polluted the heavens’.
Over the festive period, a lot of people were confused by the mystery lights floating above them.
A Twitter user from London wrote: ‘There are literally fire like stars moving across the skies in London. Apparently it’s Starlink satellites.
‘Love an alien invasion on Christmas.’
They added: ‘My mum says it’s UFOs.’
There were several sightings of the Starlink satellites reported across the world over the festive periods.
A DJ named Galaxy Squires also joked: ‘They say the string of UFOs is Starlink satellites for broadband.
‘That is just a cover story. The real reason for the cover story is Elon Musk is actually an alien.’
— Mitja Pirih (@PirihMitja) December 25, 2019
My mum saying it’s UFOs lmao literally fire like stars moving across the skies in London apparently it’s starlink satellites
Love an alien invasion on Christmas pic.twitter.com/7NZZ98qXfX
— 🃏🃏 (@ysljunhoe) December 25, 2019
Thankfully, the East Anglian Astrophysical Research Organisation stepped up late on Boxing Day to remind people that they weren’t actually seeing UFOs in the sky.
It wrote: ‘If you see these over the UK they are NOT UFO’s but satellites that are part of the Space-X Starlink project to provide accessible internet to everyone.’
Eventually, the ‘constellation’ of satellites will expand so that 12,000 spacecraft are speeding around our planet.
This is already angering astronomers, who fear SpaceX’s satellites will block their view of space.
Writing for The Conversation, Michael J. I. Brown, associate professor in astronomy at Monash University, said: ‘While some reports have indicate binoculars are needed to see the individual satellites, they also report that Starlink satellites flare, momentarily becoming brighter than any natural star.
‘If the individual satellites usually are too faint to be seen with the unaided eye, that would at least preserve the natural wonder of the sky. But professional astronomers like myself may need to prepare for streaky skies ahead. I can’t say I’m looking forward to that.’
Successful deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed! pic.twitter.com/eYrLocCiws
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 24, 2019
The multibillion-dollar Starlink project has been approved by the US communications agency to send almost 12,000 satellites into space.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has previously claimed that once active, the network will deliver ‘one terabit of bandwidth’ to Earth, with the aim of using the new network to provide better internet access to under-served parts of the world.
A previous demonstration of prototypes called Tintin A and B was carried out in February 2018 with coverage good enough to play fast response video games, Mr Musk claimed.
The launch came after two previous planned launches were cancelled due to heavy winds and additional safety checks. The first Starlink payload consisted of 60 ‘flat-pack’ satellites, the heaviest in SpaceX’s history, Mr Musk said.
He has previously said it will take ‘six more launches’ of 60 satellites to initially activate Starlink, and 12 more for significant coverage.