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Astronomers were shocked by how bright SpaceX ' s Starlink satellites were. SpaceX is planning to launch the second installment of its Starlink megaconstellation on Monday (Nov. 11), and astronomers are waiting to see — well, precisely what they will see.
SpaceX anticipates launching thousands of satellites — creating a mega-constellation of false stars The Starlink launch was one of SpaceX ’ s most ambitious missions to orbit. Each of the satellites But he does worry about the irrevocable impact on human culture should internet satellites forever
SpaceX is planning to launch themegaconstellation on Monday (Nov. 11), and astronomers are waiting to see — well, precisely what they will see.
When the company launched its first set of Starlink internet satellites in May, those with their eyes attuned to the night sky immediately realized that the objects were incredibly bright.the satellites would interfere with scientific observations and amateur appreciation of the stars.
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Jim Bridenstine appears to question SpaceX's enthusiasm for NASA's Commercial Crew program aimed at getting astronauts to the ISS.Bridenstine dropped an unexpected statement on Twitter on Friday, writing, "I am looking forward to the SpaceX announcement tomorrow. In the meantime, Commercial Crew is years behind schedule. NASA expects to see the same level of enthusiasm focused on the investments of the American taxpayer. It's time to deliver.
Share All sharing options for: Why astronomers are worried that SpaceX ’ s satellite network will leg of SpaceX ’ s Starlink constellation — about 1,600 satellites — as there are better details about the have accurate orbital data for the rest of the satellites — and their height affects their brightness .
SpaceX put 60 bright satellites in space May 23, and astronomers are sounding the alarm about the eventual 12,000-strong Starlink A train of SpaceX Starlink satellites are visible in the night sky in this still from a video captured by satellite tracker Marco Langbroek in Leiden, the Netherlands on
"That first few nights, it was like, 'Holy not-publishable-word,'" Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told Space.com. "That kind of."
SpaceX and its leader, Elon Musk, reassured astronomers that once the satellites settled into place, they would stop masquerading as the stars they are named for. McDowell wanted to confirm the accuracy of Musk's statement, so he asked an email Listserv of amateur astronomers to wait for the first batch of Starlink satellites to reach their final orbit, then compare theto the stars around them.
Those observations started in July. McDowell hasn't completed an exhaustive analysis, but he said the preliminary results are concerning, with Starlink satellites regularly clocking in at magnitudes between 4 and 7, which is bright enough to see without a telescope. "The bottom-line answer is, you can consistently see these things," he said.
Elon Musk sends a tweet through SpaceX's Starlink broadband satellite
The CEO expressed surprise at his own success."Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite," he wrote, before following up to express his surprise.
The astronomers worry the satellites will interfere with their work of understanding the universe. The American Astronomical Society – chief organization for US astronomers – said it is in conversations with SpaceX about the impending launch of 12,000 Starlink satellites .
The launch of SpaceX ' s Starlink Internet satellites has sparked concerns from astronomers of what they will do to the night sky. Although people are currently excited at spotting the satellite train, astronomers – both amateur and professional – are worried about what they will do to the night sky
The initial Starlink launch carried 60 satellites, but that's just a tiny fraction of what SpaceX has described as its long-term plan, of. "When you're talking about 30,000 satellites, and many above the horizon at any one time, that's what's new about this," McDowell said. "It's not going to be just the occasional interference, it's going to be continual."
McDowell and his colleagues specializing in optical astronomy aren't used to having to ignore technology masquerading as astronomy. But it's a position radio astronomers are quite familiar with, since satellites send data back to their humans in radio frequencies. "That was something that people realized was coming," he said, "whereas the light-pollution aspect caught us by surprise."
In response to the outcry,that he "sent a note to Starlink team last week specifically regarding albedo reduction," which refers to the amount of light reflected by the satellites. In a separate tweet regarding the issue, Musk also said that with optical astronomy. "That said, we’ll make sure Starlink has no material effect on discoveries in astronomy. We care a great deal about science," .
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Consequently, SpaceX ’ s Starlink satellites wouldn’t be the only distractions in the night sky, and this would only be the beginning of many challenges to come. Related: The science behind SpaceX ' s interplanetary rocket concept. It should be interesting to see how things will pan out for the future of
The reason: Musk’ s SpaceX recently launched 60 satellites as a prototype for the company’ s planned Starlink satellite project. The astronomy community’ s protest was almost immediate, and included both amateur astrophotographers and professional astronomers .
But McDowell complained that SpaceX hasn't provided any details about what modifications the satellites could endure and how much they would dim. He hopes to repeat his brightness check once the Starlink satellites that SpaceX plans to launch next week reach their final orbits.
"We can hope that that will improve things, but let's see, the proof is in the pudding, right?" he said. "All we can do right now is go on what they've actually put up there. And what they've actually put up there are really bright satellites that if you had many thousands of them would represent a."
For McDowell, the concern is about more than Starlink or SpaceX specifically. "This whole new scale of space industrialization means that this is a problem that we have to start worrying about, and in fact, should have started worrying about 10 years ago," he said. "I'm not trying to say we absolutely shouldn't do megaconstellations. But let's phase it in, let's assess the degree of light pollution, let's manage it as a resource."
He hopes that the space community adopts general practices about how much light pollution individual projects can produce, paralleling existing guidelines for managing space debris. "We thought we could ignore the space age in astronomy, but it's here," McDowell said. "Now we have to take it seriously and deal with the impacts on ground-based astronomy."
Apple is reportedly developing satellite technology to support its devices .
Satellites could help with maps, tracking, coverage, and moreThere are a lot of unknowns and caveats, though. The project is “still early and could be abandoned,” says Bloomberg, and it’s not clear what Apple’s end goal is. It’s also not known if the company wants to develop its own satellites or simply utilize others’ satellite data.