SpaceX recently launched 57 new satellites, the latest effort to launch and operate the company’s Starlink group,media reported. The company plans to begin testing the satellite-provided Internet service later this summer. But there has been controversy around starlink satellites, especially since they are brighter than anyone expected.
Astronomers and scientists from around the world have complained that SpaceX’s satellites make astronomical observations from Earth more difficult. SpaceX has been experimenting with ways to reduce the brightness of the satellite, including wearing a dark-colored “coat” on the surface of the satellite. The latest satellite is the VisorSat category, which is designed to reflect less. They have been specially designed to make them difficult for telescopes on the ground to see.
It is understood that the VisorSatStarlink satellite is characterized by the deployment of sun visors after launch and the blocking of sunlight from reflecting from the satellite’s surface. Astronomers say that while visors may reduce the brightness of satellites, they have not been able to prevent satellites from interfering with astronomy.
Astronomers worry that when they look for very distant, dim objects, SpaceX’s orbiting satellites could cause fake stars to break up data. According to astronomer Jonathan McDowell, the satellite can pass through the telescope’s field of view in just a few seconds. And the camera they use has a very long exposure time, so just a few seconds is enough to destroy the entire 10 to 15 minutes of exposure.
Scientists worry that the satellites will particularly affect telescopes that observe the horizon at dawn. These exposures are said to be particularly important in the discovery of asteroids flying near Earth. So far, SpaceX has 600 satellites in orbit and has been approved to launch nearly 12,000 satellites, and the company hopes to eventually put 42,000 satellites into orbit.