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Russian cosmonaut spots 'space guests' amid dazzling auroras in video. They're not aliens.

Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner has captured some truly amazing views of Earth from above as seen from the International Space Station, but his latest video of auroras included an unexpected surprise: five bright lights on the horizon that he dubbed 'space guests.' 

They're likely satellites, not aliens, but still amazing to see for sure. The most likely culprit is the Starlink broadband satellites SpaceX launched on Tuesday (Aug. 18), a day before Vagner shared his video, although that has not yet been confirmed.

"In the video, you will see something else, not only the aurora," Vagner said on Twitter. Indeed, at the 9- to 12-second mark, a group of lights quickly shows in the video before disappearing.

"5 objects appear flying alongside with the same distance," the Expedition 63 crew member wrote. "What do you think those are? Meteors, satellites or ...?"

Vagner added that he has told Russia's space agency Roscosmos of the objects. 

Roscosmos officials highlighted Vagner's video on Twitter, retweeting it with the message: "An interesting and at the same time mysterious video made by the cosmonaut of Roscosmos Ivan Vagner (@ivan_mks63) from the International Space Station."

The Russian state media source TASS confirmed Roscosmos is investigating the video.

"It is too early to make conclusions until our Roscosmos researchers and scientists at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences tell us what they think," said Roscosmos spokesman Vladimir Ustimenko in the TASS report. "It was decided to hand over those materials to experts, who will tell us what that was in their opinion."

This still from a video captured by Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner on the International Space Station shows a series of bright lights, likely satellites, in the distance over Earth's auroras on Aug. 19, 2020. (Image credit: Ivan Vagner/Roscosmos via Twitter)

But again – don't jump to the conclusion it's aliens. Satellites are the most likely answer. And it's something astronauts on the International Space Station have seen before.

Back in April, station astronauts spotted a train of Starlink satellites that look very similar to this set of lights.

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  • dave1usmc
    The video would have been great if I could see it without the Best Buy ad blocking most of the view. Could you for once not have ad's in the video, maybe we could enjoy space for once.
    Reply
  • yellowgrenade
    I don't care if they said it's not aliens! It's definitely Aliens! (Because that's how the world works now) lol
    Reply
  • SpaceJunk
    Duh... It's Elon Musk's space junk.
    Reply
  • IG2007
    That's aurora australis though. If you are passing through Australia or Antarctica, you will see aurora australis not aurora borealis.
    Reply
  • Keith Cooper
    They "could be" sattelites. they "could be" meteors, but they "are NOT" aliens...? Based on what? Could be's? Wanna be's? They are just as likely aliens as Space junk based upon the author's scientific methodology.
    Reply
  • JohnnyJ
    dave1usmc said:
    The video would have been great if I could see it without the Best Buy ad blocking most of the view. Could you for once not have ad's in the video, maybe we could enjoy space for once.
    I use Mozilla Firefox with their adblockers and don't see ANY ads unless I really want too.
    Reply
  • foxpup
    SpaceJunk said:
    Duh... It's Elon Musk's space junk.
    Elon Musk's "space junk" as you call it is going to bring internet to lots of people who otherwise won't be able to get it. It is socially ugly for people who already have internet to put down technology that helps others get what they already have. How tacky can you get? You may as well have just have said "Let them eat cake." or rather "Let them use floppy discs."
    Reply
  • Smithga
    A typical F...book addictive answer... Or you forgot to write the warning: "This is a place for an ad!"
    WHO cares about having net in jungle? It is SO important for the vital functions, or?
    I wonder, where all the night-sky lovers, astrophotographers are now?!? You don't mind, that the light pollution is growing daily, and now this Musk's garbage... It doesn't matter, that we soon won't be able to see the Sun, but we will have an Elon-net Paradise!!! :-@@@
    Reply
  • foxpup
    Smithga said:
    A typical F...book addictive answer... Or you forgot to write the warning: "This is a place for an ad!"
    WHO cares about having net in jungle? It is SO important for the vital functions, or?
    I wonder, where all the night-sky lovers, astrophotographers are now?!? You don't mind, that the light pollution is growing daily, and now this Musk's garbage... It doesn't matter, that we soon won't be able to see the Sun, but we will have an Elon-net Paradise!!! :-@@@

    "WHO cares about having net in jungle?" Jungle Resident's Lives Matter!!! How dare you think otherwise!!! People EVERYWHERE have a right to participate in society and commerce and in this day and age that means having access to the internet. Based on your tone, I'd say that most jungle residents are more civilized than you are and could teach you a thing or two about how people should be treated.

    As for loss of the night sky, those star-link satellites are generally only visible during twilight, when astronomical viewing is sketchy at best anyway. Remember, satellites only shine when illuminated by the sun. Those satellites are in low-earth-orbit so when it is deep into the local night, they are in the earth's shadow as much as the viewer is so you cannot see them. Publication editors and "authorities" are afraid to say this because of fear of flack from people like you, but I'm a mere foxpup and have no status or dignity to lose so I can speak the truth freely. There's an upside to being almost nothing. :-) Your complaint is much-ado about nothing. You could be so much better than being just another idle complainer trying to get in the way of people who are actually trying to get good things done.
    Reply
  • bolide
    Keith Cooper said:
    They "could be" sattelites. they "could be" meteors, but they "are NOT" aliens...? Based on what? Could be's? Wanna be's? They are just as likely aliens as Space junk based upon the author's scientific methodology.
    Based on what we know is there. They are "just as" unconfirmed--for the moment--but not "just as likely," by any stretch.
    Reply
  • bolide
    foxpup said:
    Elon Musk's "space junk" as you call it is going to bring internet to lots of people who otherwise won't be able to get it. It is socially ugly for people who already have internet to put down technology that helps others get what they already have. How tacky can you get? You may as well have just have said "Let them eat cake." or rather "Let them use floppy discs."
    Seems to me he could have done much the same with balloons, or drones, or some such--or even towers--rather than the expense (to be recouped from users, of course) and multiple complications of launching thirty thousand (!!!) satellites.
    Reply