Surrey and Hampshire residents were treated to an unexpected celestial spectacle on Sunday evening as a series of peculiar lights danced across the night sky.
There was a flurry of speculation online at around 8pm until it was revealed the dazzling display was, in fact, the result of Elon Musk's ambitious Starlink project.
The strange lights, resembling a string of pearls moving in unison, saw social media buzzing with UFO theories.
But the extraterrestrial mystery was swiftly debunked as many commenters confirmed it was the SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation passing overhead.
Starlink, a brainchild of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, aims to provide global satellite broadband internet service. The constellation consists of thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit, forming a network that delivers high-speed, low-latency internet connectivity to underserved and remote areas.
Sunday's sighting in Surrey and Hampshire was part of a routine deployment of Starlink satellites, where clusters of them are released into orbit from a Falcon 9 rocket. As sunlight hits the satellites' solar panels, they become visible from the ground shortly after sunset, creating a stunning light show that has been mistaken for UFOs in several instances worldwide.
While the Starlink project has garnered attention for its potential to revolutionise internet accessibility, it has also sparked concerns among astronomers about the increasing visibility of artificial satellites interfering with astronomical observations.
Organisations like the International Astronomical Union (IAU) are actively working with SpaceX and other satellite operators to mitigate the impact of satellite constellations on scientific observations.
As Starlink continues to expand its reach and improve global internet connectivity, sightings of these mesmerising lights may become more commonplace.