Elon Musk’s SpaceX Satellites are Photobombing Skywatchers’ Shots of NEOWISE Comet

Starlink satellites are photobombing images of NEOWISE comets | Credit: Twitter

Starlink satellites are photobombing images of NEOWISE comets | Credit: Twitter

SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are causing light leaks and smears in photos of NEOWISE comet.

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  • Last Updated: July 25, 2020, 7:26 PM IST

Skywatchers are certainly not happy with the SpaceX satellites as they are ruining some stellar images of the NEOWISE.

For the unversed, NEOWISE is the brightest comet in the Northern Hemisphere since the 1995-96 show of Hale-Bopp.

If one looks with the naked eyes, the comet appears tiny and quite faint. But, if one sees it through the camera they can get quite a clear glimpse of it, especially if they have long, telephoto lenses.

According to a report published in Live Science, mostly when photographers click pictures of such things in the night sky they use long exposure times, leaving the camera aperture open to collect light over the course of several seconds.

However, now with SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, the images have a bright smear across them.

Previously, SpaceX has been held responsible for overhead light pollution. This first happened when Starlink constellation, part of the brand’s plan to deliver internet access from orbit, was launched in 2019. Back then, astronomers had raised their concerns about the reflective properties of these devices. Starlink apparently uses a particularly reflective thing that can leave bright smears across telescope sensors and pollute data.

Alex Parker, a Colorado-based astronomer in the past had said, “When we develop new, big facilities, big observatories, big surveys to go and do things like discover hazardous asteroids, we design them to within an inch of their lives. We do so to make sure that every [risk] is accounted for.”



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