- A group of SpaceX Starlink satellites watched the comet’s eponymous NEOWISE, which ruins the comet’s otherwise horrific picture.
- SpaceX has already launched hundreds of satellites, but thousands of them are already in orbit.
- Satellites reflect light on Earth, making it difficult for astronomers to use high-powered telescopes or cameras to capture clean images of space.
Astronomers do not need much to enable peer in space. Getting through a decent telescope can be difficult to be sure, but other than that, you really need clear skies. Unfortunately, SpaceX’s StarLink program is making it difficult for scientists to observe even at night’s clarity.
Recently, an astrophotographer named Daniel Lopez tried to capture what would be a stunning picture of the comet’s surname NEOWISE that has recently been illuminating the night sky. The image is great, except for one thing: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite Horde showed up at the worst possible moment.
The photo was a collection of 17 different long exposure shots every 30 seconds. When stitched together, we get a grand glimpse of the comet, which recently took a trip around the Sun and departed towards the rear of the Earth with a bright shiny tail. Unfortunately, we also see reflections of countless SpaceX Starlink satellites that were hovering at the worst possible moment.
This is something we have seen before, and astronomers have not been shy about their dislike of the satellite and their habit of blocking the views of telescopes on Earth. SpaceX has said it is trying to come up with solutions, which include photographing satellites with a matte black coating to reduce reflections and even establish shaded “visors” that land Are supposed to block solar reflection from interfering with observations from.
As you can see, the image is very much ruined as a result of the satellites overhead. Due to the long exposure to the shots, the satellites produce long trails that obscure the comet and detract from the photo as a whole.
It is important to remember that this type of stuff is happening despite SpaceX having a relatively small number of Starlink satellites. Currently with only hundreds of satellites, SpaceX plans to massively boost those numbers. Eventually, the company wants to orbit thousands of Starlink satellites in a grid around the planet.
The network will provide communication capability to just about every corner of the world. This is an incredibly ambitious plan, but if the company can’t figure out that its satellites are already causing problems to shrink, then things are only getting worse, as more and more equipment on Earth Are deployed in class.