For the last few nights it’s been possible to look up at the night sky and see a procession of satellites move across the heavens.
These are the Starlink satellites from SpaceX and they’ve been launched with the eventual goal of beaming down internet signal to the entire planet.
Eventually the American space company wants to put 12,000 into orbit to fully blanket the globe. However, concerns have been raised about their positioning in the sky and the subsequent effect on astronomy.
All this week many people across the UK and Europe have been able to see the satellites and now billionaire founder Elon Musk has said SpaceX is ‘fixing’ the brightness of the satellites.
Responding to a question about the brightness on Twitter, Musk said the reason they’re so visible is due to the angle of the solar panels and therefore the fact they’re reflecting the sun’s light back down at us.
In regards to the brightness, he said ‘We’re fixing it now’.
Each Starlink satellite is about the size of a car and is in a relatively low orbit around Earth. Larger satellites are put into a much higher orbit and are therefore harder to see.
At the moment Starlink satellites are in a parked orbit around Earth as SpaceX continues to add more to the constellation. Eventually, they will use on-board engines to move further away from the planet which will also make them less visible.
If you’re in the UK, you’ll be able to see the Starlink satellites pass over again later this evening. They will be moving from west to south east and will be visible from 8.54pm tonight.
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