The Falcon 9 rocket, from SpaceX, is scheduled to launch into space tonight, and it is expected that in minutes it will be visible from the entire island.
“If it launches at the initially scheduled time (7:34 p.m.), we’d have a good ‘timing’ or perfect moment to see it soon after, since the rocket would reach the Caribbean around the time it was dark, and when liftoff happens in those conditions, the launch looks amazing,” said Eddie Erizary, science communicator for the Caribbean Astronomy Society (SAC).
Irizari explained, in a press release, that although it is getting dark in our area, the missile will pass close to the island at an altitude of 112 miles (180 km), high enough for the sun to significantly illuminate the missile’s trajectory, highlighting its visibility more than on other occasions.
The science teacher predicted that the rocket would be visible from all parts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic sometime between 7:41 and 7:43 p.m. by looking toward the northwest horizon, that is, toward Florida, where it came from.
He added that, contrary to what some might think, the rockets are not launched directly upwards, but shortly after take-off they turn to the side with the aim of eventually starting to orbit the planet, or descending again towards the surface of the earth.
“The acceleration of these ships is impressive because when they start to emerge from Puerto Rico they will be traveling at about 13,000 mph, but after a while we will see that there is a point that separates and is left behind (at which point the second stage of the rocket ends or turns off), and at that moment it actually reached a speed of 16,300 mph,” he said.
Falcon 9 will carry another constellation of 22 Starlink satellites into space, as part of a constellation of these satellites to provide satellite internet.
It was pointed out that if the launch happened at a later time it would still be visible from our area, but better if it was at the exact time initially (7:34pm). If the launch needs to be delayed, there will also be other opportunities to try between 9:15pm and 10:56pm or even Sunday night.
“Several factors can cause these launches to be delayed, so before attempting to see them on the northwest horizon, it is essential to confirm if liftoffs have already occurred,” said Nelson Ortega, SAC Vice President.
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