Are Starlink satellites taking up too much space in the sky? These days, they have repeatedly spoiled the observation of comet Neowise.
And yet, comet C / 2020 F3 is rare, very rare, in the sky, since its next passage is expected in… 6800 years. Néowise is visible to the naked eye from France for a few more days. An event for all astronomy enthusiasts, but also, of course, astrophysicists.
The comet made up of ice and dust is located 103 million kilometers from Earth.
Only here, in space, there are also the hundreds of Starlink satellites, launched by SpaceX, the astronautics company of Elon Musk and his eponymous rocket.
As a result, when astronomers want to immortalize the passage of comet Néowise, they sometimes have to deal with real light pollution caused by the satellites of the American billionaire.
Not a first
This is not the first time that Elon Musk and his satellites have angered astronomers. Already in November, while they were impatiently awaiting a meteor shower, they were treated to a cloud of brilliant welts, the famous satellites.
Elon Musk reacted with a tweet by announcing that he had asked SpaceX engineers to reduce glare from satellites. They obviously did not find the solution!
If the Starlinks wreak such havoc in the sky, it is mainly because they are placed in orbit at low altitude, that is to say 346 kilometers when they should logically be positioned at an altitude of 550 km. . What is more, Elon Musk’s project ultimately foresees more than 7,500 satellites in this same orbit.