# The curse of Elon Musk

• Stargazing
Gold Member
2019 Award

## Summary:

this guy should be locked up !!

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Seriously, this guy has destroyed astronomy for amateur and professional alike
His actions are criminal and this is just the start
just one recent example ......

Maybe he should redirect his satellites in a path that avoids blocking celestial objects that astronomers are interested in?
May I suggest a path directly INTO the sun? If not, how about directly into Elon's back yard? Either would suit me just fine...

## Answers and Replies

Related Astronomy and Astrophysics News on Phys.org
His actions are criminal
It is even worse. His actions are not criminal due to a lack of corresponding rules. As long as the satellites are duly registered they are perfectly legal. There is nothing that could stop him or others from spamming the sky.

Gold Member
2019 Award
It is even worse. His actions are not criminal due to a lack of corresponding rules. As long as the satellites are duly registered they are perfectly legal. There is nothing that could stop him or others from spamming the sky.
uh huh, maybe I should qualify the comment .... criminal to everyone outside the govt's that allow this sort of thing

the govt's that allow this sort of thing
They do not allow it. They just forgot to forbid it. Nobody considered this situation when the international space law has been established. But instead of a corresponding update there is currently reather a tendency to cancel international treaties.

berkeman
Mentor
Are there practical things that can make satellites like that more stealthy? Paint them with non-optically-reflective black paint?

Gold Member
2019 Award
Are there practical things that can make satellites like that more stealthy?
In general, it's difficult as more often than not, the sat's surfaces are covered in solar panels for battery charging,
and they are very reflective, I haven't seen a photo of one of these actual satellites before launch

Ibix
Or if the orbital data is available, can you program your camera to filter them out?

Take multiple images and stack using median combine and that should remove them.
Regards Andrew

Post in on Twitter, maybe you get a response

Classical conflict of interests: some people want to earn money, others want to do science. The money people usually win.

Gold Member
2019 Award
Or if the orbital data is available, can you program your camera to filter them out?

there's too many of them and 100's more coming. trails like that cannot be filtered out

Gold Member
2019 Award
Take multiple images and stack using median combine and that should remove them.
Regards Andrew
Image stacking is the norm anyway, doesn't help, too many of these bl$$dy things Science Advisor Gold Member 2019 Award The money people usually win. Sad but true This image from the International Astronomical Union . 256bits Gold Member Isn't that typical of humans to soil their environment and think nothing of it, as long as it doesn't affect themselves. Light pollution just gets getting more and more "disgusting." They built a new bridge here and what do they do - this is the federal gov't by the way who tries to pass themselves on as being environmental mindful - they light it up with those colored LED lights for show, and the public blabbers say what a sight - no regard for the little kids that will grow up and never see a clear sky in their growing up years and fantasize about the universe. Well, technological progress, and the push for immediate gratification, does indeed have its downside. gleem Science Advisor Education Advisor Do these satellites present any problems for the new Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii? If not how are they mitigating the presence of the satellites? Do these satellites present any problems for the new Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii? If not how are they mitigating the presence of the satellites? They might mitigate the problem with satellites in the Hawaiian sky by building the telescope in the Canary Islands! russ_watters Mentor Are there practical things that can make satellites like that more stealthy? Paint them with non-optically-reflective black paint? Thermal management is critical for satellites, so probably not. russ_watters Mentor Image stacking is the norm anyway, doesn't help, too many of these bl$$dy things
While I haven't experienced the Starlink specific issue yet, previously I would just reject subs that had this issue. But it should be possible to subtract the streaks from each sub before stacking. A dark streak has a whole lot less impact on the stack than a bright one.

Gold Member
2019 Award
Do these satellites present any problems for the new Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii? If not how are they mitigating the presence of the satellites?
Every telescope anywhere on earth with a latitude of ~ + - 65 deg going by the images I have seen
showing their satellite orbital coverage

They might mitigate the problem with satellites in the Hawaiian sky by building the telescope in the Canary Islands!
HUH ??! I have to assume that was a joke because if it wasn't, then you don't understand the problem !

berkeman
Mentor
Paging @mfb -- was this part of the planning for these new arrays of communication satellites?

HUH ??! I have to assume that was a joke because if it wasn't, then you don't understand the problem !
It was supposed to be a joke, hence the exclamation point! The joke being that any problem with anything in the Hawaiian sky (which was specifically mentioned) would be mitigated if the telescope were built in the Canary Islands.

I thought it was funny. And, FYI, I do understand the problem.

gleem
Every telescope anywhere on earth with a latitude of ~ + - 65 deg going by the images I have seen
showing their satellite orbital coverage

Then as far as they are concerned there is no (significant) issue with the satellites.

Gold Member
2019 Award
Then as far as they are concerned there is no (significant) issue with the satellites.

HUH ??
who are they ?

gleem
Then as far as they are concerned there is no (significant) issue with the satellites.
Professional astronomers since they have been building new terrestrial telescopes since the first satellite was launched.

mfb
Mentor
The Starlink satellites are launched to a height of ~300 km and raise their orbit to 550 km using ion thrusters. To do so they fly in a low drag configuration, which makes the solar panels very visible around sunset/sunrise. After they reach their operational altitude the current satellites re-orient their solar panels and dim to magnitude 5-6, future satellites might become even dimmer (they are testing a new coating right now - you can't make it black, but they change the directions the light is reflected/scattered to). With 5-6 they are only visible in places with a very dark sky, if the new coating works well they will become completely invisible to the naked eye. Telescopes will still spot them, of course, just like they spot the thousands of other satellites, that is unavoidable.

Only a few batches of satellites are raising their orbit at the same time, and while they do so they have predicable orbits (so astronomers can plan ahead) and they enter the shadow of Earth quite soon due to their low orbits (they are not visible for most of the night). It's not a big deal for professional observations. They would prefer absolutely no satellites apart from orbital telescopes, obviously, but that's not realistic.
If you absolutely need to take an image of a region in the sky at the time a train of satellites will fly through you can still take many images and remove the satellites in software.
I haven't seen a photo of one of these actual satellites before launch
Here is one. With annotations here.
Professional astronomers since they have been building new terrestrial telescopes since the first satellite was launched.
It is not without impact, but the impact is not as large as some people claim.
Classical conflict of interests: some people want to earn money, others want to do science. The money people usually win.
Some people want internet access. About 3 billion of them do not have internet access at the moment, but such a satellite constellation can provide internet for nearly everyone - they only need a user terminal. I really hope they win. Internet access for everyone is so much more important than a few affected pictures of selected night sky objects.