Astronomers accuse SpaceX satellites of interfering with the study of dangerous asteroids

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — SpaceX’s numerous Starlink satellites make it difficult for astronomers to capture high-quality images and may interfere with the search for potentially dangerous asteroids.

This is reported in a study in the scientific journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

It is noted that scientists considered the influence of Starlink satellites on about 300 thousand images that were taken at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California.

From November 2019 to September 2021, there was a 35-fold increase in the number of corrupted images.

“For comparison, in 2019, 0.5% of twilight images were affected, and now this figure has increased to 20%,” explained the lead author of the study, Przemek Mroz.

University of Washington astronomer Eric Bellm noticed that reflected sunlight can complicate the search for potentially dangerous asteroids.

“There’s definitely a kind of planetary defense aspect here,” he said.

A NASA spokesman also confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that satellites can interfere with observations from Earth, “increasing the difficulty of differentiating artificial satellites from natural objects such as asteroids and comets.”

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