SpaceX Satellites Have Invaded Astronomers' Views of The Sky, And It's Getting Worse

There is a growing number of satellites in the sky. In low-Earth orbit, most of these are.

This has caused some to be concerned about a rise in space debris and a growing frustration by the astronomer due to the number of satellite sky trails.

The biggest player is the Starlink project, which has more than 1,700 satellites. They are known for creating bright streaks in images. Starlink will be followed by other projects.

The noble goal of all of these projects is to provide easily accessible Internet across the globe. Critical astronomy will be challenged by the visibility of these satellites. A recent study shows that the impact of these satellites on astronomy will soon be serious.

The study looked at the number of Starlink trails seen in the images captured by the ZTF at Palomar Observatory.

There were more than 5,300 streaks seen in ZFT images from November to September. The majority of the streaks were seen in twilight images.

There is a satellite trail across the sky. Caltech optical observatory

Half of twilight images had streaks in the beginning of the year, but they are now seen in about one of every 5 twilight images. The search for near-Earth asteroids is dependent on twilight images.

The most difficult to find meteorites are those that come from a trajectory near the Sun's position in the sky.

The number of streaks isn't high enough to make a difference in the search for asteroids. As the number grows, they will start to miss some asteroids. The number will be reached within a year or so.

The effect of these streaks can be mitigated. Adding reflective panels to the satellites could reduce their brightness, which is important for asteroid detection.

The study says that the Starlink plan won't be enough to avoid an impact on astronomy.

We will need to make some difficult choices about satellite internet. It could broaden human connection to even the most remote regions of the world, but it could also destroy our ability to view the heavens and understand the Universe we call home.

If we don't set our priorities and guidelines soon, we will be in trouble.

The article was published by Universe Today. The original article can be found here.