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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday February 23 2020, @05:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the how-it-works-is-up-in-the-air dept.

How Does Starlink Work Anyway?:

No matter what you think of Elon Musk, it's hard to deny that he takes the dictum "There's no such thing as bad publicity" to heart. From hurling sports cars into orbit to solar-powered roof destroyers, there's little that Mr. Musk can't turn into a net positive for at least one of his many ventures, not to mention his image.

Elon may have gotten in over his head, though. His plan to use his SpaceX rockets to fill the sky with thousands of satellites dedicated to providing cheap Internet access ran afoul of the astronomy community, which has decried the impact of the Starlink satellites on observations, both in the optical wavelengths and further down the spectrum in the radio bands. And that's with only a tiny fraction of the planned constellation deployed; once fully built-out, they fear Starlink will ruin Earth-based observation forever.

What exactly the final Starlink constellation will look like and what impact it would have on observations depend greatly on the degree to which it can withstand regulatory efforts and market forces. Assuming it does survive and gets built out into a system that more or less resembles the current plan, what exactly will Starlink do? And more importantly, how will it accomplish its stated goals?

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  • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Monday February 24 2020, @10:24AM (1 child)

    by Common Joe (33) <reversethis-{moc ... 1010.eoj.nommoc}> on Monday February 24 2020, @10:24AM (#961770) Journal

    I'm not the grandparent AC, but I saw them between Christmas and New Years. I don't know the exact magnitude, but in my part of the world, they were as bright as planets. They sailed across the sky as large dots of light -- in a row, one after another. Each one stayed visible for about 90 to 120 seconds, appearing at an approximate similar point and disappearing at another approximate point. They traversed about half the sky. I saw about 3 to 5 at them at any one time. I watched for about 10 minutes before I had to leave.

    It was only the next morning when I looked up specific satellites that I figured out exactly what I had seen. I knew I had seen satellites (the spacing between each dot of light was very regular and the speed was exactly the same between each), but I didn't know which ones.

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  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday February 24 2020, @12:20PM

    by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Monday February 24 2020, @12:20PM (#961791) Homepage
    I think when they were ducklings in a line they hadn't reached anywhere near their final orbit yet, but their orbital radius, even if they're doubling altitude, won't change massively. However, that minute ballpark is a useful datapoint. The spot I saw really didn't seem to be moving, so it looks like it wasn't one of them. Musta been a UFO! I'll keep my eyes peeled, it looks like it will be a clear sky tonight.
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