Its not new news that SpaceX has been filling our skies with a lot of small satellites in order to provide reliable and fast satellite internet accessible from pretty much anywhere in the world. The idea seems pretty good, but the astronomers and astrophotographers seem to be not liking the idea that much.
As of now, SpaceX has already sent 540 small broadband internet-beaming satellites into low-Earth orbit as part of its Starlink constellation and is going to send many more. The number of reports from astronomers telling that their observations ruined by Starlink satellites appearing as bright streaks of light have increased drastically over the past few weeks.
Images taken of the spectacular NEOWISE comet by astrophotographer Daniel Lopez were “completely photobombed by Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites,” as Space Telescope Science Institute astronomer Julien Girard pointed out in a tweet.
17 30-second images of the comet added up by @cielodecanarias, completely photobombed by @elonmusk‘s #Starlink satellites. It’s a few hundreds of them right now,there will be a few thousands in the near future. @SpaceX is committed to coating orienting them better but still…. pic.twitter.com/TYtTf5xwhc— Julien Girard (@djulik) July 22, 2020
SpaceX actually addressed this in May after about 500 satellites were launched, saying that they are going to be fixing the issue by adding sunshades to future Starlink satellites to reduce their impact on astronomy.
“We would have about 500 satellites at their current brightness, and then all satellites beyond that would have these sunshades,” Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s vice president of satellite government relations said earlier this May.
Even though the issue seems to be solved, 500 satellites that were launched before this is not a small number, and them being this bright is a huge problem. SpaceX has also said that these satellites are brighter than they usually are because they are still climbing in height and would lose their brightness over a period of several months.
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What an awe inspiring experience. A celestial visitor that has been around since the beginning of our universe. What stories it could tell, what sights it has beheld. How this cosmic being has brought humankind together. Regardless of race, color, sex, creed, age, profession, or any other distinguishing characteristics, we cannot help but gaze towards the heavens and become lost in its beauty. Take a minute to forget everything else going on right now. Just breathe, feel, love. We are all one world, never forget that. . . . Shot on the @sonyalpha A7RIV with the @sigmaphoto 105mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4 Art lenses. . . #lestertsaiphotography #neowise #cometneowise #discoverwithalpha #sonyalpha #sonya7riv #sigmaart #mykgw #bbcearth #nationalgeographic #koin6news #fox12news #pnwphotographer #mthoodterritory #oregonexplored #pnwisbeautiful #pnwonderland #pnwadventurers #mthood #pnwphotography #portlandphotographer #pdxphotographer #pdxphotography #portlandphotography #comet #nightsky #myplanetdaily #earthfocus #keepportlandweird
We hope that that this new idea of SpaceX using sunshades to future Starlink satellites really works because if it doesn’t, then it poses a huge problem to the astronomers around the world as they already have permission from the Federal Communications Commission to launch tens of thousands of Starlink satellites to bring global internet coverage to the world. It would also be interesting to see by when we all the previous 500 satellites lose their extra brightness and if they don’t what SpaceX would do to solve the problem.
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