SpaceX's satellites are ruining astronomers' observations of the sky

SpaceX’s satellites are ruining astronomers’ observations of the sky


Several astronomers have recently published examples proving that the many satellites put into orbit do not represent anything positive for their discipline. If the situation is already worrying for scientists, SpaceX is just at the beginning of its Starlink project that aims to provide broadband Internet access to the entire planet!

Too many satellites in orbit
On November 12, 2019, we mentioned that SpaceX had just put 60 new Starlink satellites into orbit. This launch brings to 120 the total number of satellites of the project already launched. A month earlier, we reported an announcement from SpaceX about the same project. Indeed, it was to add 30 000 satellites to 12 000 originally planned, and to reach a total of 42 000! It should be known that currently no less than 2,000 satellites are already orbiting our planet. For astronomers, it is already much too much, as explains the NewScientist in an article of November 19, 2019. And to say that with his project, SpaceX wishes to multiply this number by 20!

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Thus, several astronomers have climbed the niche. These include Clarae Martínez-Vázquez and Cliff Johnson from the Interamerican Cerro Tololo Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. In a tweet, the first showed a snapshot proving that the Starlink satellites strongly disrupt the observations of the device Dark Energy Camera (DECam). The second answered him with a different proof of these same disturbances (see below).

Astronomy VS Starlink
For 5 minutes, no observations were possible. If this period of time may seem derisory, you should know that telescopes need long exposure time. Indeed, this is necessary in order to obtain clear images of distant constellations. In other words, each such disturbance greatly affects the results.

It is clear that wanting to connect the world to broadband Internet does not mix with astronomy. In June 2019, scientists already raised doubts about the Starlink project.

Recall that beyond the 2,000 satellites already in orbit, astronomers are concerned about the issue of space waste. The fact is that these objects have the ability to send back the sun’s light and, therefore, disturb the sky’s observations. Remember also that in September 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) had made a maneuver to avoid a collision between the Aeolus satellite and one of the Starlink satellites!