Science

SpaceX’s vivid Starlink satellites are upsetting astronomers


Marco Langbroek, Leiden, The Netherlands

SKYGAZERS had an uncommon view final week: a string of vivid objects transferring throughout the night time sky, as seen on this picture captured by Marco Langbroek in Leiden, the Netherlands.

The orbiting objects are Starlink satellites, produced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and launched two days earlier. The 60 satellites are the primary of an meant 12,000-strong fleet designed to offer broadband web worldwide.

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The satellites are in low orbits: initially launched to an altitude of 440 kilometres, their thrusters will carry them to 550 km above Earth and they need to dim as they disperse. Their brightness has been met with concern by astronomers, who say the deliberate variety of satellites may intrude with views of the night time sky.

Musk claimed on Twitter that Starlink would have “no materials impact on discoveries in astronomy”, but additionally mentioned he’s taking a look at lowering the reflectivity of future satellites.

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