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Starlink satellite lines are destroying more and more telescope images

Starlink satellite lines are destroying more and more telescope images

SpaceX is busy launching all the satellites starlink: Issue 2000 went up in the air this week. Nice internet landmark, but less pretty for room photos. 20 percent of the night starry images taken from satellites are damaged by Starlink lines.

lines in the sky

You know the lines of the plane in the sky: sometimes they make a picture of clouds funnier, but often it is a shame that such a man-made object disturbs the image of nature. Moreover, this is no longer just happening from Earth. Satellites also increasingly have these stripes on their images. This is because of Starlink. According to research, as many as 20 percent, or one-fifth of the photos, will have some form of white streak.

SpaceX is launching more objects into space, such as a small satellite last week TU Delft. However, one of his biggest space projects is moving Starlink satellites into the sky. There must have been thousands and yesterday’s launch was a milestone for the millennium satellite. That’s good news for places in the world where the internet is usually hard to access, because that’s what Starlink is all about, but it’s a waste of all the science photos you see white streaks on.

Starlink in the picture

Przemek Mróz, a researcher at the University of Warsaw, says that in 2019, 0.5 percent of images of the starry sky were still subject to SpaceX impacts, but that percentage had already grown to 20 percent. And this, of course, becomes more and more. The Starlink satellites seem to reflect a lot, especially at the time of sunrise and sunset, which doesn’t make the pictures any better. Then the Sun and Earth are positioned in such a way that a huge amount of light is reflected off the satellites.

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Other space images may not be affected by the stripes, but the starry sky images are. In addition, the researchers fear that placing satellites from other companies in higher orbits will affect other space images. So far, we mainly see the lines on the images from the ZTF, which outlines the entire starry sky every two days to find asteroids, for example. Although the chance of such an asteroid being behind the Starlink streak is not very high, it is, of course, not positive that the images have a distracting streak.

The solution: software

We can hardly ask SpaceX to remove all Starlink satellites from space, but there is another solution: software. SpaceX’s Elon Musk is already working on this, because he seems to realize that this is a growing problem. Hopefully a solution will be soon, albeit a bit contrived. This way scientists can focus again on those beautiful stars, rather than the satellites.

Laura Jenny

When she’s not tapping, she’s floating somewhere in the great world of entertainment or on a plane to a great place in the real world. Mario…