Elon Musk‘s company has ambitious plans to release 12,000 satellites to Earth‘s lower orbit as part of the Starlink program, with the goal of providing Internet worldwide. The first batches of the satellites were already launched, back in May 2019, and every month after that, SpaceX has consistently been releasing new sets, with the current number now standing at 360. The project was met with reproach by some astronomers, who claimed that satellite constellations were hiding the view of the cosmos.
The researchers on board of the ISS have captured images of the satellites from the space station while it was traveling above the Indian Ocean with the camera photographing towards Antarctica. The image shows a series of white dots above green lights, getting gradually higher.
Some Astronomers Are Against the Project
Another recent image shared by astronomer Scott Tucker who was capturing photographs of Venus on April 17th, depicted satellites as a series of white streaks in front of the planet.
Mr. Tucker said: “I watched 41 Starlink satellites from the most recent launch pass by Venus during late twilight. One of them even flared like an Iridium satellite! It got to magnitude -2 for a few seconds.”
Since the project launched, some astronomers have claimed that the satellites will negatively impact their understanding of the Universe. Last year, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) released a statement saying that the scientists have two concerns.
“Firstly, the surfaces of these satellites are often made of highly reflective metal, and reflections from the Sun in the hours after sunset and before sunrise make them appear as slow-moving dots in the night sky. Secondly, despite notable efforts to avoid interfering with radio astronomy frequencies, aggregate radio signals emitted from the satellite constellations can still threaten astronomical observations at radio wavelengths,” the statement said.