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Starlink Satellites Interfering with Astronomers’ Photographs

Starlink SatellitesStarlink satellites are affecting astronomers’ ability to take images of space. Credit: SpaceX/Wikimedia Commons CC0

One of the world’s major ground-based observatories which is tasked with scanning the heavens for exploding stars and threatening asteroids is having its work compromised by light streaks left by SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.

The California observatory, called the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) started its full-sky observations back in 2017. Taking comprehensive, in-depth images of the heavens every two days, the telescope hones in on bright objects and any entities in space that appear suddenly and are only visible for a short time. Normally, it finds light from supernovas and asteroids that may be passing near-Earth orbit.

However, a new wrinkle has been put into the works as a result of the vast array of Starlink satellites launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX program, as shown in a new review of the ZTF’s images over time.

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