SpaceX head Elon Musk’s intention to provide a world-wide internet service had a minor setback on Sunday after the next batch of his Starlink satellites were prevented from launching due to inclement weather. The South African billionaire believes the constellation requires at least another 200 satellites to launch before Starlink can start supplying internet. However, although SpaceX is not yet fully active, even amateur astronomers can already view the mega-constellation streaking across the night sky from the UK.
How to see SpaceX constellation at night from the UK this week:
This is a rundown of the times the Starlink constellation will be visible from the UK this week.
September 1: Looking west to southeast at 8.56pm
September 2: Looking west to south at 9.32pm
September 3: Looking west to southeast at 4.45am (possible poor visibility)
September 3: Looking west to southeast at 8.32pm (possible poor visibility)
September 4: Looking southwest to east at 5.19am
September 5: Looking southwest to east at 4.22am (possible poor visibility)
SpaceX is facing increasing scrutiny over its controversial Starlink satellite mega-constellation.
A recent report by the Satellite Constellations 1 (Satcon1) workshop, has confirmed SpaceX’s Starlink could have an ‘extreme’ impact on astronomy.
The workshop used computer simulations to examine how satellite constellations such as Starlink may one day affect the operations of observatories on Earth.
The researchers wrote: “In the last year, the sky has changed, with growing numbers of satellite trails contaminating astronomical images.”
New photos have shown just how the highly-reflective satellites are already affecting observations of the cosmos.
The Starlink satellite constellation is now so bright, they can be seen without the aid of binoculars.
But there are mounting concerns they are now adversely affecting astronomical observations.
Scientific discoveries such as the identification of a near-Earth object or a super-Earth exoplanet candidate may be missed due to ‘noise’ caused by the satellites’ trails.
The report added: “If the 100,000 or more [low-Earth satellites] proposed by many companies and many governments are deployed, no combination of mitigations can fully avoid the impacts of the satellite trails on the science programs of current and planned ground-based optical-NIR astronomy facilities.
However, the report added SpaceX is working with the scientific community.
This is an attempt to make future generations of its Starlink satellites less reflective and therefore disruptive.
The report writes: “SpaceX has shown that operators can reduce reflected sunlight through satellite body orientation, Sun shielding, and surface darkening.
However, even with those measures in place, the report found observatories will likely have to “adopt more dynamic scheduling and observation management as the number of constellation satellites increases.”
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