Since you can see the Starlink satellites in the sky, Elon Musk has not only friends among astrophotographers. In this post I would like to try to bring something dark back to the sky. In addition, I show you my first shots of the project of Space X.
Starlink satellites in the sky ensure ubiquitous Internet
According to Elon Musk, the first goal pursued with the Starlink satellites of his company Space X is ubiquitous Internet with high bandwidth.
The company Space X has already launched several hundred satellites into Earth orbit. At the end of 2020, Internet availability in North America is to be ensured, and by the end of 2021, the Internet should also be available in the sky via the Starlink satellites almost worldwide.
For the first expansion phase, 11,927 satellites are to orbit the Earth on behalf of Space X by 2027. The company has submitted applications for a further 30,000 satellites. (Source: Wikipedia)
These are spectacular figures. If you consider the following comparison, it becomes even more spectacular: The company Space X plans to have five times as many of its own satellites orbiting the world as were stationed in space from the first satellite in 1957 (Sputnik) by the end of 2019.
Space X satellites provide more space debris?
Space X has revolutionized space travel, especially in terms of sustainability. That sounds pretentious. Once you have seen how the launchers first chase the Falcon rockets into orbit and then land again on a ship in the ocean, you will confirm parts of the statement. So are the plans with the Starlink satellites in the sky. The last control command they execute should cause the satellites to burn up during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. I'm sure Space X is also thinking about recycling the satellites. The raw materials have a high value for a commercial enterprise. And SpaceX, unlike NASA, is a commercial enterprise.
Starlink satellites in the sky cause disturbances in astronomy?
I took the following part from the Wikipedia article. There, the feared effects are explained.
Satellites at an altitude of several hundred kilometres can be visible in the hours before dawn and after dusk. The first series of 60 Starlink prototypes appeared surprisingly bright in the sky in the days following launch. Astronomers then expressed fears that large constellations such as Starlink could shape the image of the night sky and interfere with observations with optical telescopes. In addition, the radio signals used for data communication could interfere with radio astronomical observations.
Whether and to what extent such problems will actually occur is still unclear. SpaceX is working with astronomy associations such as the American Astronomical Society to minimize the potential impact. During the launch of Starlink 2 in January 2020, one of the satellites received a darker surface as a test. From the ninth launch (around June 2020), all new Starlink satellites will appear much darker. In addition, SpaceX wants to dispense with originally planned orbits of the second stage at an altitude of 1100-1325 kilometers and place all satellites below 600 km, which reduces their visibility at night and greatly reduces the dwell time of defective satellites.
Can you Starlink Photographing satellites in the sky?
The Starlink satellites can be photographed in the evening and at night. Due to the brightness, you can even photograph these objects as individual dots. You get the impression of having taken a pearl necklace.
I myself have not yet consciously set out on the hunt for the Starlink satellites, they flew through the picture rather by chance when I photographed the Lyrids . Due to the relatively long exposure time, I was only able to capture several rows of strokes.
When will Starlink satellites show up?
As with the International Space Station , there are times when the Starlink satellites are visible in the sky. To find out when this is at a location, there is an app. This app shows the inclined readership which group of Starlink satellites can be seen in the sky and when.
I use this app to track down the satellites:
There are a number of apps for detecting the Starlink satellites in the sky. Since I don't know which smartphone everyone uses, I was looking for an app that is available for both Android and iOS.
The Find Starlink Satellites app is a very simple application. After the location has been recorded (either via the map or via the GPS positioning), the next visible satellite groups are displayed. First the clearly visible groups and then the weaker to poorly visible groups.
My conclusion on satellites
As is so often the case, it is not black and white. I am convinced that one day satellites will be part of the night sky, like planets, the moon and shooting stars.
We all want fast Internet and the download rates should be three-digit or better four-digit numbers. To do this, we will also need solutions such as the Starlink satellites.
If Elon Musk's company really does research to reduce disruption in astronomy, if his company makes sure that "spent satellites" don't end up as space debris, then we'll have to get used to the sight. In addition, it must be noted that SpaceX is not the only company that sends satellites into space in groups for fast and comprehensive Internet.
So, now you know my views on this project, you learned more about the Starlink satellites. How do you feel about this programme? Feel free to tell me by leaving a comment.