SpaceX is set to introduce its Starlink megaconstillation's 2nd installment today, and the astronomers are looking forward to seeing, well, exactly what they are about to see. When the company launched the first set of Starlink Internet satellites middle of this year, people whose eyes are in harmony with the night sky instantly realized the objects they were seeing were amazingly Bright. However, professional astronomers were apprehensive that the satellite would affect and cause some delays in the scientific observations, as well as the amateur appreciation of the stars.
In an article posted on space.com, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said, "That first few nights, it was like, 'Holy not publishable-word." He added it was "kind of a wake-up call." The same article indicated that SpaceX and its head, Elon Musk, reassured the astronomers that once the satellites get settled in place, "they would stop masquerading as the stars they are named for."
Confirm Space X's Accuracy
In relation to Space X's reassurance through its leader, McDowell wanted confirmation on the accuracy the statement Musk delivered and therefore asked an email Listserv of amateur astronomers so they'd wait for the Starlink satellites' first batch to reach their final orbit. Then, that's when they can compare specific satellites and the stars' brightness around them. It was in July this year when the observation started.
McDowell has not completed a comprehensive analysis yet. However, he said the initial results are concerning, with Starlink satellites clocking in on a regular basis at magnitudes from 4 to 7, quite bright enough to see sans the use of a telescope. The bottom-line answer here, the astrophysicist said, is that one can consistently see things. Relatively, the initial Starlink introduction carried 60 satellites though it's just a small fraction of what SpaceX has been describing as its long-term plan of introducing tens of thousands of devices in orbit.
Responding to the Outcry
Reacting to the outcry, SpaceX's Musk, earlier this year, sent Starlink team a note, particularly about the reduction of albedo, referring to the amount of light which the satellites emit. Then, in a separate post on Twitter, still, about the issue, Musk also said, the company has no intention of interfering with the optical astronomy. Consequently, the company head committed that they'd make sure Starlink does not have any material impact on the astronomic discovery and that they care a great deal about science.
However, McDowell complained that the company had not provided any information on what alterations the satellites could bear or tolerate and how much they would dim. He expects to have the brightness check repeated the moment the Starlink satellites that SpaceX plans to launch anytime today, reach their final orbits.