SKYGAZERS had an unusual view last week: a string of bright objects moving across the night sky, as seen in this image captured by Marco Langbroek in Leiden, the Netherlands.
The orbiting objects are Starlink satellites, produced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and launched two days earlier. The 60 satellites are the first of an intended 12,000-strong fleet designed to provide broadband internet worldwide.
The satellites are in low orbits: initially launched to an altitude of 440 kilometres, their thrusters will carry them to 550 km above Earth and they should dim as they disperse. Their brightness has been met with concern by astronomers, who say the planned number of satellites could interfere with views of the night sky.
Musk claimed on Twitter that Starlink would have “no material effect on discoveries in astronomy”, but also said he is looking at reducing the reflectivity of future satellites.
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