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The Starlink Spacelink satellite is disrupting stargazer observations. Astronomers say 'not cool!'



Clarae Martínez-Vázquez, an astronomer at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Coquimbo, Chile, tweeted that bright light reflected by satellites disturbs the high-powered cameras used to observe other galaxies.

"Wow !! I was shocked !! A large number of Starlink satellites crossed the sky tonight [the observatory], "he said." Our DECAM exposure was greatly influenced by 19 of them! The Starlink satellite train lasts for more than 5 minutes !! It's a bit sad … This isn't cool! "

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk began developing projects in 2015 to improve internet connections in the field. The hope is that more satellites will expand bandwidth and range.

But astronomers worry that the lower the Earth's orbit, the denser it is, the more light that will interfere with their telescope observations.

Satellites on Earth

Satellites can be seen from Earth, they think usually faint. But when their panels reflect "blast" sunlight back to Earth, they can appear brighter for short periods, according to National Geographic.
Streaks of bright light can block astronomical objects directly beneath them and can trigger false signals in a telescope, Nature reports.
In March, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that there were currently more than 2,000 satellites in orbit, although that number did not include Starlink satellites.

The most visible, such as the International Space Station, are in low Earth orbit, and are more easily recognized in summer, when the sun shines for a longer period – thus, satellites have more time to reflect.

And there are many more satellites that can join those already in orbit. SpaceX has permission from regulators to launch more than 10,000 satellites, and recently requested to add 30,000 more.

Responding to the initial commotion in May, Musk stressed that the Starlink satellite would not affect astronomical observations.

"There are 4,900 satellites in orbit, which people notice ~ 0% of the time," he said tweeted. "Starlink will not be seen by anyone but look very carefully & will have an ~ 0% impact on astronomical progress."

Reached by CNN on Wednesday, a SpaceX spokesman responded that it was talking with leading astronomy groups to find a way that satellites would not interfere with their work. On a more tactical level, this also makes the basic color of the Starlink satellite black, which hopefully will help. If necessary, SpaceX says it can adjust multiple satellite orbits as well.

In other words: they listen.


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