tech2 News StaffSeptember 14, 2020 11:42:35
The huge swarm of satellites broadcasting on the Internet in the growing constellation Starlink, launched by SpaceX, continues to be vision and an obstacle to the astronomical community. A recent change in the outer surface of the satellites to reduce its visibility in the night sky has made a small difference ̵
Starting May 2019, SpaceX has released batches of its Starlink satellites – 60 at a time – with the ultimate goal of having a “mega constellation” of about 30,000 small satellites broadcasting the Internet.
Shortly after the first batch of Starlink satellites launched in 2019, astronomers quickly realized that the volume and reflectivity of the satellites made it visible in the night sky – as an undoubted trace of lights in the sky.
VIDEO! Get ready to be insane!
The @SpaceX #Starlink satellite train passed over Leiden, the Netherlands, about 25 minutes ago. Camera: WATEC 902H with Canon FD 1.8 / 50 mm lens. I shouted when they entered FOV! @Elonmusk https://t.co/xChLDH32uk
– Dr. Marco Langbroek (@Marco_Langbroek) May 24, 2019
Second flight #Starlink tonight over Poland #SantaClaus #SpaceX #Science #Polska #Poland 25.05.2019 … 22:15 UTC pic.twitter.com/0KUhCTEKwc
– Marcin Łoboz (@Marcin_Loboz) May 25, 2019
I know people are excited about these images of the SpaceX Starlink satellite train, but that pauses me.
They are bright and there will be many of them.
If SpaceX releases all 12,000, they will exceed the stars visible to the naked eye.
– Alex Parker (@Alex_Parker) May 25, 2019
The satellites were so reflective that they hindered the already complex work that was being done space exploration in space observatories around the world.
United States-served observatory Vera C Rubin in Chile is a giant telescope that has been operating for more than two decades, costing millions of dollars. It is designed to begin the deepest exploration of the night sky ever in 2022. According to report in The guardian, astronomers are now wondering how the constellation Starlink will penetrate its images every night and what could hinder the process.
Read also: Vera C Rubin Observatory captures stunning, record first photo of broccoli
Important astronomical events can occur either over a long period of time or in the blink of an eye. Astronomers must make careful calculations and find the perfect place and time window to make these observations and record them.
As satellites follow a straight and predictable path in the sky, several thousand such bright satellites piercing the sky can be a colossal distraction for stellar and astronomical communities. Imagine a brightly lit train that chaotically moves why you are in a greenhouse to quietly observe the behavior of lions.
SpaceX tried to deal with the problem. They responded with a redesign of the Starlink satellite appearance, which makes all the satellites launched afterwards – “DarkSats” – less reflective. They even published a newspaper with proof that this was the case made the satellites significantly darker.
However, Scientific American reports that the change made little difference, as DarkSats are still bright enough to block observations of the sky during the day or at night. The upgraded DarkSats look half as bright as Starlink’s original fleet, the report said, which is progress.
These images, which I took last night, show 3 @SpaceX #starlink satellites, including STARLINK-1130 “DARKSAT”, passing the same part of the sky in 10 minutes.
As can be seen, the Starlink-1130 is obviously weaker due to its reflection reduction coating. @ Planet4589 @TSKelso pic.twitter.com/5lnBJJIo1S
– Dr. Marco Langbroek (@Marco_Langbroek) March 23, 2020
The streaks of light as the satellites pass from above are still a challenge for astronomers to make continuous observations of space objects and events.
Astronomer Meredith Rawls of the University of Washington said so SciAm that if SpaceX continues without solving the problem, it sets a precedent for other companies to follow suit and launch their own mega constellations without taking into account the needs of the astronomical community.
If the problem persists, scientists may have no choice but to raise Elon Musk on his proposal to have observatories in orbit outside the range of vision-blocking satellites.
Read also: Star Caravan: SpaceX Starlink satellites drive UFO madness among Dutch astronomers
Elon Musk sent the first tweets via SpaceL’s satellite Internet Starlink