What is Starlink, the string of low-orbiting satellites spotted over Southeast Michigan Thursday night?

Not too long after dark had settled over Southeast Michigan did residents in the area see what looked like a line of bright lights drifting across the sky.

"The ‘lights’ traveled as one, never broke formation, moving from northwest to south," wrote one FOX 2 viewer in an email. 

"A strange long string of lights or aircraft traveling west to east over Livingston County to Iosco Township," read another email.

The images reveal exactly what was described - a straight line illuminated in the night sky for only a couple of minutes. Bright lights appearing in the night sky are not unusual, although they do prompt questions about what might be above.

The new sight observed April 21 was likely one of Elon Musk's Starlink satellite, which is developed by the tech entrepreneur's space exploration company SpaceX. Some 1,500 satellites connected to the program to bring satellite internet to the world are currently in orbit. 

According to Nature.com, the cluster of satellites creates what some call a "megaconstellation." Not everyone is a fan of the new technology as it's considered a source of light pollution that may make studying the cosmos more difficult.

Sometimes people like to call them Satellite Trains or Strings of pearls. 

RELATED: Strange lights in the sky spotted over Southeast Michigan Thursday night

But why did residents in Michigan suddenly see the array of lights pass over head?

According to the website Findstarlink, which tracks the movements of the satellites, the most recent time someone living in Metro Detroit could have seen one was around 9:49 p.m. Starlink-G4-14 could be seen for about five minutes. Residents would have needed to look from the northwest to the south. 

The path that G4-14 actually crested over the continental U.S. and was directly above Canada last night. 

Despite the path of the satellite not heading directly over Michigan, the lights could be seen across the region, even as far as Lansing for a period. 

What is Starlink?

Musk, ever the aspiring inventor, has deployed a plan to bring high speed broadband internet to the world. Using his company SpaceX, Musk has plans to launch around 12,000 Starlink satellites over the next few years. 

The sudden surge of new satellite launches - about 600 a year - could be contributed to an increase in UFO sightings recently. 

While an audacious plan, Musk has already gotten permission to fly 12,000 satellites, and perhaps as much as 30,000 in the future. 

The satellites orbit at about 340 miles above the surface.