CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A Centennial-based drone dealer says it knows what’s behind all the mystery lights hovering over Castle Rock in recent days, and they aren’t drones.
Multicopter Warehouse says the lights are the Starlink satellites launched into space by SpaceX.
So far, 182 of the mini-satellites have been launched aboard rockets, part of a plan to provide broadband internet service around the globe.
“The launches just started recently and they’re going to occur every other week for about a year,” said Kerry Garrison, a vice president at Multicopter Warehouse.
Garrison says the satellites that just launched are especially visible because they were launched in low orbit and they may look lower than they actually are.
“It is impossible to judge distance of an object at night,” he said.
It just so happens they were also launched at a time when many Coloradans were looking to the skies, leery of strange lights overhead.
“Part of what plays into it is we’ve had extremely clear skies, almost no moon, and those satellites were most visible in this area. Further in the country they weren’t as visible,” said Garrison.
Garrison also recently visited the eastern Plains alongside a team of other experts in aviation to independently investigate the mysterious lights being reported there.
“There’s enough things that we can’t explain that something does seem to be going on out there,” Garrison said.
However, that does come with a caveat.
Garrison believes that 98 percent of all sightings are misidentifications, meaning airplanes, helicopters and satellites that people believe are drones.
However, he and his team did see two things they can’t explain.
“We saw red lights go zipping across the sky that didn’t show up on any apps or screens,” he said.
Those lights were low on the horizon, traveling at speeds of more than 100 mph, faster than any drone can travel.