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Watch for a SpaceX rocket set for Thursday evening launch from the California coast

A SpaceX rocket launch scheduled for a few minutes after sunset might deliver another spectacular sight Thursday in the Southern California sky.

A Falcon 9 rocket is set to launch Thursday evening from Vandenberg Space Force Base northwest of Santa Barbara and soar along the coastline. The launch window will open at 7:30 p.m., which is about 20 minutes after sunset in Los Angeles.

If skies are clear enough and the rocket lifts off early in the launch window, the Falcon 9 and its exhaust plume might be illuminated by the setting sun against the backdrop of a darkening sky, such as during the Feb. 8 SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. Launches just after sunset and before sunrise usually provide the best views as the rocket reflects the sun’s rays with a dark sky in the background.

Sunset is scheduled for 7:11 p.m. Thursday in Los Angeles. Even a later launch will likely offer a good view of the rocket, but without the sun’s illumination.

The Falcon 9 rocket will carry 22 Starlink internet satellites into low-Earth orbit. It may also produce a sonic boom a few minutes after liftoff that could be heard along the parts of the coast.

SpaceX has a Starlink constellation of satellites orbiting Earth about 340 miles up, shuttled into space by the company’s rocketsThe Starlink network is designed to deliver high-speed internet anywhere around the globe.

If light conditions are right, the satellites appear in a train as they parade across the night sky. The satellites are sometimes visible in the first few minutes after sundown and before sunrise when the sun is below the horizon, but the satellites are high enough to reflect direct sunlight.

Use the FindStarlink tracker to find the best upcoming viewing times.


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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