Researchers study impact of Starlink satellites on astronomy | Digital Trends

1/22/2022 3:30:00 AM

A team of researchers has studied the impact of SpaceX's growing Starlink satellite constellation on the work of astronomers.

Astronomy, Satellite-Constellations-1

A team of researchers has studied the impact of SpaceX's growing Starlink satellite constellation on the work of astronomers.

A team of researchers has studied the impact of SpaceX's growing Starlink satellite constellation on the work of astronomers.

Ever since SpaceX began deploying batches of Starlink internet satellites in 2019, astronomers have been expressing concerns about how sunlight reflecting off the small devices could obscure their view of space and impact their work.To assess their impact, a team led by former Caltech researcher Przemek Mróz studied archival images captured during twilight by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory near San Diego.

The team’s findings, which appeared in the January 17 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, revealed that while in 2019 only 0.5% of twilight images showed streaks from Starlink satellites, that figure had increased to 18% by August 2021, suggesting that if SpaceX expands its constellation to 10,000 (for which the spaceflight has already received deployment approval), then pretty much all ZTF images captured during twilight will be affected.

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As SpaceX sends another rocket to space this week on a mission to expand its Starlink constellation to around 2,000 satellites, astronomers are poring over a newly released report assessing the satellites’ impact on deep space observations.A prime ground-based observatory that scans the sky for exploding stars and dangerous near-Earth asteroids is struggling with disruptive light streaks from SpaceX's Starlink internet satellite constellation, a new study revealed.seven-hour, 11-minute spacewalk .a press statement reveals.

Ever since SpaceX began deploying batches of Starlink internet satellites in 2019, astronomers have been expressing concerns about how sunlight reflecting off the small devices could obscure their view of space and impact their work. To assess their impact, a team led by former Caltech researcher Przemek Mróz studied archival images captured during twilight by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory near San Diego. Scanning the entire sky every two days, the observatory looks for the temporary brightening or sudden appearance of objects that remain visible only briefly. The team’s findings, which appeared in the January 17 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, revealed that while in 2019 only 0. The Dragon craft, which had previously been scheduled to come home on Friday (Jan.5% of twilight images showed streaks from Starlink satellites, that figure had increased to 18% by August 2021, suggesting that if SpaceX expands its constellation to 10,000 (for which the spaceflight has already received deployment approval), then pretty much all ZTF images captured during twilight will be affected. A new review of its observations going back to 2019, the year when SpaceX began launching its ambitious Starlink megaconstellation, has revealed that a considerable percentage of the telescope's views has streaks in it caused by the satellites as they passed overhead. We found that twilight observations are particularly affected: a fraction of streaked images has increased from less than 0. On top of that, the transportation sector in the U.

5% in late 2019 to 18% in August 2021. These observations are particularly important for spotting potentially dangerous asteroids coming from the direction of the sun, the scientists added. You can watch the undocking live here at Space. Once SpaceX deploys 10,000 Starlinks, essentially all ZTF images taken during twilight may be affected. pic.5% in late 2019 to 20% in late 2021.twitter. EST (1540 GMT) on Saturday.com/5f8tKaSHlk — Przemek Mróz (@przemroz) January 17, 2022 However, study co-author Professor Tom Prince of Caltech noted that a single streak of light from a Starlink satellite affected less than one-tenth of a percent of the pixels in a ZTF image. Moreover, SpaceX hopes to eventually expand the size of its internet-beaming fleet to a whopping 42,000 spacecraft."Our business model is to give railroads the tools to convert some of the $700 billion U.

“There is a small chance that we would miss an asteroid or another event hidden behind a satellite streak, but compared to the impact of weather, such as a cloudy sky, these are rather small effects for ZTF,” Prince said. In 2020, SpaceX chief Elon Musk said he wanted to work with astronomers to ensure that the Starlink satellites didn’t interfere with their work. To date, SpaceX has 1,469 active Starlink satellites and just launched 49 new satellites late Tuesday (Jan. Barron and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer also loaded freezers packed with additional scientific samples into the ship. To that end, SpaceX started adding visors to its satellites to reduce the brightness of the reflection. The team investigated the effectiveness of visors and found that with the ZTF observations, the attachment reduced a satellite’s brightness by a factor of about five — a level that fails to meet standards outlined by a 2020 Satellite Constellations 1 (SATCON1) workshop that brought together active astronomy groups. "We don't expect Starlink satellites to affect non-twilight images, but if the satellite constellation of other companies goes into higher orbits, this could cause problems for non-twilight observations," Przemek Mróz, the lead author of the study and former postdoctoral scholar at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which runs ZTF, said in the statement. Prince said that software could help to overcome potential problems — for example, using computer smarts to forecast Starlink satellite positions, enabling astronomers to plan their observations for the clearest view. EST (1700 GMT) on Friday. Source: Soule left SpaceX in 2019 after 13 years of working at SpaceX.

Software can also be used to work out if a passing satellite adversely impacted an observation that’s already taken place, allowing astronomers to view the resulting image in the appropriate context. Not everything is doom and gloom, however. Mróz said his team didn’t expect Starlink satellites to affect non-twilight images but warned that if the other companies’ satellite constellations are deployed in higher orbits, non-twilight observations could also be impacted. Editors' Recommendations . Caltech physics professor Tom Prince, a co-author of the study, added that only about 0.m.