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US astronomers speak on SpaceX Starlink satellites

12 Jun 2019, 10:30 UTC
US astronomers speak on SpaceX Starlink satellites
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An image of the NGC 5353/4 galaxy group made with a telescope at Lowell Observatory in Arizona, USA, on the night of May 25, 2019. The diagonal lines running across the image are trails of reflected light left by more than 25 of the 60 recently launched Starlink satellites as they passed through the telescope’s field of view. Although this image serves as an illustration of the impact of reflections from satellite constellations, please note that the density of these satellites is significantly higher in the days after launch (as seen here) than they will be when they reach their final orbits. Following their initial orbits, the satellites will diminish in brightness as they are boosted to a final orbital altitude. How bright will they ultimately be? That’s as yet unclear. Image via Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory.
On May 23, 2019, entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company SpaceX launched 60 Starlink communication satellites aboard a single rocket. Within days, skywatchers worldwide spotted them flying in formation as they orbited Earth and reflected sunlight from their shiny metal surfaces. Some people, unaware that artificial satellites can be seen moving against the starry background every clear night, reported UFO sightings. Astronomers, on the other hand, ...

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