SpaceX satellites photobomb comet pictures

SpaceX launches new Starlink satellites in orbit

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 60 new Starlink internet satellites on Monday.

Photographers who recently set out to capture the Neowise comet, which was closest to Earth on July 23, were frustrated after SpaceX's Starlink satellites disrupted their photos.

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The comet was first discovered on March 27 and will not appear visible from Earth again for another 6,800 years, according to NASA.

While many photographers around the globe caught dazzling pictures of the comet, others caught lines created by the light emitted from the some 540 SpaceX Starlink satellites while using long-exposure camera settings.

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Photographer Daniel Lopez of El Cielo de Canarias shared his version of the Starlink photobomb on Facebook, writing in Spanish that the long-exposure setting on his camera caused the satellites to appear in front of the comet, calling it a "shame."

Lopez's photo shows 17 separate pictures taken with 30 seconds of exposure layered on top of each other — a common practice for space photographers.

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Others shared their pictures showing the satellites, as well:

SpaceX founder Elon Musk deployed the Starlink project in 2015 to build "the world's most advanced broadband internet system" via satellites, according to the Starlink website.

The Federal Communications Commission gave the Tesla founder permission to launch 12,000 satellites into orbit in 2018. Musk submitted paperwork to get approval for another 30,000 in December 2019, which has yet to be granted.

Starlink satellites meet or exceed industry orbit debris mitigation standards, according to the website.

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Still, astronomers have expressed concerns that the light emitted by the satellites could disrupt space observation efforts.

"Astronomers — and casual viewers of the night sky — must expect a future in which the low Earth orbit population includes tens of thousands of relatively large satellites," Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics wrote in a draft of a study looking at the affects of the Starlink project on observatories, tech website CNET reported in March.

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McDowell tweeted about the Neowise disruption on July 22:

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