How to see the new ‘Humanity Star’ satellite from your backyard

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
February 20, 2018, 11:05:00 AM EST


Stargazers have a new object to look for as a disco ball-shaped satellite shimmers in the night sky.

The aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab performed a test launch of their Electron rocket from New Zealand on Jan. 21. The launch was a success and was able to deliver the payload of the Humanity Star into orbit around the Earth.

The rocket also successfully deployed three small commercial satellites into space for Plane Labs and Spire Global.

“Created by Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck, the Humanity Star is a geodesic sphere made from carbon fiber with 65 highly reflective panels,” according to the Humanity Star website.


The new reflective satellite orbits the Earth about once every 90 minutes with the sole purpose of being visible for people all around the world to see.

“No matter where you are in the world, rich or in poverty, in conflict or at peace, everyone will be able to see the bright, blinking Humanity Star orbiting Earth in the night sky,” Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said.

How to view the Humanity Star

Those wanting to see the new satellite will need to do a little planning as it will not be visible every day.

The Humanity Star will be best seen when it passes overhead around dawn and dusk and should be visible with the naked eye.

It will also appear much differently than other man-made objects in the sky, such as the International Space Station.

Instead of being a moving point of light, the Humanity Star will appear to flicker as it tracks across the sky due to its angled panels. It is also estimated to appear dimmer than the International Space Station.


To find out when the Humanity Star will be visible from a particular city or neighborhood, people will need to go to TheHumanityStar.com, scroll down to the map and enter their location. This will show when the best opportunity is to view the satellite next.

For many areas in the United States, the satellite will be visible in early March, although the exact time and date will vary based on location.

RELATED:
GOES-S to launch this week joining GOES-16 in NOAA’s new generation of weather satellites
AccuWeather Astronomy Facebook page
Observatory spots Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster zooming through space
VIDEO: Celebrating 60 years of space exploration

People hoping to see the Humanity Star in the night sky should plan to look for it sooner rather than later as it will only be visible for a few months.

According to the satellite’s website, the Humanity Star will only orbit the Earth for around nine months before the pull of Earth's gravity causes it to re-enter and burn up in the atmosphere.

Until then, people around the globe will have the opportunity to see the satellite in the sky.

“My hope is that everyone looking up at the Humanity Star will look past it to the expanse of the universe, feel a connection to our place in it and think a little differently about their lives, actions and what is important,” Beck said.

Report a Typo

Comments

Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News