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posted by janrinok on Saturday November 30 2019, @12:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the has-this-been-thought-through? dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Skywatchers in Spain recording meteors being transformed into brilliant streaks of light by atmospheric compression are a bit miffed – as their view was rudely interrupted by a slew of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites.

Below is a short clip of what it looked like above La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands last week. The meteor shower known as Alpha Monocerotids crisscrossed the sky, though it becomes hard to spot them once the satellites come flooding in.

SpaceX's table-sized Starlink birds, which sport reflective solar panels, are closer and brighter as they zip across the camera’s line of sight like machine gun bullets.

Starlink satellites during a meteor shower on Nov. 22. pic.twitter.com/wJVk1qu49E

— Patrick Treuthardt, Ph.D. (@PTreuthardt)

Denis Vida, a geophysics PhD student at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, who wrote the code to generate the footage above captured from one of the Global Meteor Network’s cameras, said the obstruction happens every day.

“Note that this was not a one time occurrence,” he told The Register. “We see this every day before dawn with about half the cameras in our network. During that time we effectively lose about half our field of view because of this.

[...] “These satellites will most definitely interfere with important astronomical observations which can have implications on predicting future meteor shower outburst. Accurate meteor shower predictions are essential for understanding the hazard they pose to spacecraft – do you see the irony? – and astronauts in orbit.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 01 2019, @01:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 01 2019, @01:20PM (#926698)

    Astrophotography cameras have a background noise level which makes short exposures of dim objects problematic.
    Per pixel read out noise can't be greater than the light the pixel has had time to gather from the dim object
    This puts one between a rock and a hard spot because you need to gather in short exposures to be able to reject glints for the sats.
    I can see how these satellites could spoil the picture there.

    but..

    The meteor you are trying to detect is bright and moving.
    So you want lots of short exposures.
    Why does his not capture enough unspoiled information for signal processing to pick out the meteors?