SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation is changing the night sky and moving fast

Astronomer Cees Bassa spent a lot of time using advanced radio telescopes to target deep space,media reported. On May 24, 2019, he went to the famous Dwingelo radio observatory in the Netherlands to point a small video camera into the night sky. Yet even such a small camera is enough to see the more than 50 bright lights lined up in the night sky. In fact, they were the first members of the SpaceX Starlink constellation.

SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation is changing the night sky and moving fast

It is understood that the space technology company intends to launch thousands of satellites into near-Earth orbit, with the goal of providing broadband Internet coverage around the world, so that anyone from anyone in the world can connect to the Internet anywhere, of course, such services are to pay for.

Bassa shared the footage online, calling it a “wonderful picture” and a “must-see.”

But then he began to settle the books. According to his calculations, once about 1,600 Starlink satellites are in orbit, people in most of Asia, North America and Europe can see up to 15 bright Starlight sons for most of the summer.

“Even in spring, autumn and winter, about six Starlink satellites can be seen at any time three hours before sunrise and three hours after sunset. Depending on their final brightness, this will have a significant impact on the nature of the night sky,” Bassa wrote in May last year.

It is clear that starlink’s reflexes exceed edigone capabilities of SpaceX or astronomers.

“What surprised everyone most was that it was so bright,” Jeffrey C. Hall of the Lowell Observatory told reporters at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in January. “

SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation is changing the night sky and moving fast

SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation is changing the night sky and moving fast

SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation is changing the night sky and moving fast

SpaceX will launch another 60 satellites on Sunday, and nearly 300 could float into space next week. The company is aiming to reach nearly 1,600 satellite launches by 2020, it said. And that’s just the beginning.

SpaceX has been approved by the FCC to launch nearly 12,000 satellites in total, and according to documents submitted to the International Telecommunication Union, the company is likely to launch another 30,000.

There is a less rigorous comparison, with an estimated human launching less than 9,000 satellites since the 1950s.

Bassa’s analysis of the FCC-approved full-size Starlink constellation and the small satellite fleet of OneWeb and Amazon’s program found that the number of satellites visible in the night sky is roughly proportional to the overall size of the Starlink constellation. So if SpaceX doesn’t think about reducing the brightness of a satellite, people can see more than 100 light points across the night sky at almost any time.

SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation is changing the night sky and moving fast

Recent simulations have shown that even if 25,000 satellites are in low-Earth orbit, the vast majority of satellites will be too dimly visible to the naked eye because they are too dime, but there is still a lot of uncertainty.

In a statement released on February 12th, the International Astronomical Union said: “The appearance of the original night sky, especially from dark places, will be changed, as new satellites may be much brighter than existing man-made objects in orbit.” “

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At this early stage, the Starlink satellite is already thought to have influenced astronomical observations, and astronomers have issued an outcry, with SpaceX promising to work with scientists to address their concerns. It is understood that an experimental satellite DarkSat has followed a group of Starlink satellites into the sky, its surface will be coated with a coating, the purpose is to reduce the reflection of light, as to whether this method is feasible only after the launch of the sky to know.

But this could pose a problem, which could cause satellites to absorb more heat from the sun and eventually cause failures. When Bassa tried to observe the experimental satellite in January, it found no signs of dimness than the uncovered Starlink satellite. Other astrophotographers like Thierry Legault have also documented the image (see video below). Bassa hopes to take another look soon to see what happened to the experimental satellite, but he points out that the lack of cooperation in the weather has left him without waiting for the opportunity to observe.

At the same time, SpaceX has been developing software that could allow the observatory to plan astronomical observations while avoiding starlink satellites.

“However, some observatories may not be eligible to use such software programs,” the International Astronomical Union said in a faq on its website. In addition, when the number of satellites is too high, circumvention procedures may not be effective as expected. “

There are obviously other problems. Managing an unprecedentedly large rail transit, for example, is a high-stakes game. A small number of accidental collisions can produce large amounts of debris, triggering more collisions, and in the worst case, the Kessler phenomenon — i.e. when the density of objects operating in near-Earth orbit reaches a certain level, the debris produced by these objects colliding will trigger more new collisions to form cascading effects. This would mean that near-Earth orbit would be covered with dangerous space junk, cutting access to space and global telecommunications networks.

SpaceX and other companies have made promises to manage their satellite fleets responsibly and actively, but it wasn’t long before those commitments came to be. Last September, the European Space Agency was forced to carry out its first-ever “collision-avoidance” after SpaceX’s first launch of the Starlink satellite was too close to one of its satellites.