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Furious Astronomers With Elon Musk: Starlink Satellites Are In One Fifth Of The Images

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Most of the space observations are being implemented on Earth, despite some instruments – such as the James Webb Space Telescope – in the future, help us make truly incredible discoveries. However, a controversy has recently been re-sprinkled that has been discussed for a long time: astronomers against Starlink of SpaceX.

Experts have in fact provided an estimate of their impact on images captured by the Zwicky Transit Facility (ZTF), an instrument of the Palomar Observatory of Caltech near San Diego. Almost one in five images taken by the telescope during dusk shows the presence of “satellite strips,” a disturbance caused by satellites.

Currently there are about 1,800 satellites in orbit, but by 2027 Musk plans to launch 10,000 spacecraft, which means that virtually all twilight images will have “disorders” caused by vehicles. “In 2019, 0.5% of the images of dusk had these disorders. Now almost 20% are affected by it,” said Dr. Przemek Mróz, University of Warsaw, Poland.

As easy as it is to imagine, these and other satellites could disturb even more observations, even at other times after dusk. Currently, spacecraft affect about 0.1% of pixels in images. It is also likely that more sensitive tools – such as the Extremely Large Telescope – will become increasingly affected.

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