Elon Musk discussed a way of fixing the brightness of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites recently. He said that such a thing happens due to the angle of the satellite solar panels. SpaceX could make them less noticeable from Earth.
At first, it wasn’t such a big issue, but stargazers worldwide and many Britons, as well, have observed strange constellations. SpaceX has been lifting off lots of satellites as part of its Starlink project to enhance the Internet coverage globally. The most recent lift-off was on April 22.
SpaceX’s Starlink Project Reexamined
Musk’s space company developed Starlink to create a network of about 12,000 satellites. Such things send broadband Internet access back to us. Many of the satellites that are noticeable now were launched last month.
Their actual orbital position has made them more accessible to observe over the last few weeks. The reason for their brightness? SpaceX explained that due to the satellites’ proximity to Earth and their size, they appear much brighter.
They were also designed as wide flat panels, and the light is reflected more. However, we only see the smaller ones, as the company sent the larger ones into a higher orbit.
Currently, the spacecraft is placed in a parking orbit. Soon, the craft will utilize onboard engines to fly further from Earth. The solar panels will rotate towards the Sun, and we won’t be bothered anymore by their brightness.
SpaceX Promised To Tackle Light Pollution Caused By Starlink
Unfortunately, another issue will arise. Astronomers who try to capture pictures of the farther areas of the Universe will be troubled by the light pollution.
“Astronomers’ cameras are designed to take pictures of a really faint thing, and bright light could ruin data,” explained astronomer Jonathan McDowell from Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics.
But McDowell also stated that the lift-off of so many new low orbit satellites would increase the traffic up in space. SpaceX must find a solution for both astronomers and amateur stargazers soon. The space company, however, doesn’t seem to stop working. It continues to launch satellites despite the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.